ZHUHAI, CHINA November 4, 2002 Air China has become the second customer for the CFM56-3 Time on Wing (TOW) upgrade with a $6 million order for five kits for its Boeing 737-300 aircraft fleet. The upgrade kit, which features advanced three dimensional high pressure compressor aerodynamics (3-D aero) and new high pressure turbine hardware, was certified in June. Air China will begin taking delivery later this year.
CFM56 engines are produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
The CFM56-3 TOW package was launched by Southwest Airlines in 2001 with an order for 300 kits. More than 4,200 CFM56-3 engines have been produced for the Boeing 737-300/-400/-500 series, representing a tremendous long-term market potential for the engine upgrade package.
Air China operates a fleet of 19 737-300 aircraft powered by the CFM56-3. The TOW upgrade, which will be installed during normal overhaul, will significantly improve fuel burn through a 1 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption, as well as up to 15 degrees additional exhaust gas temperature (EGT) margin, which reduces maintenance costs through longer on-wing life. CFM56-3 engines average 16,000 hours on wing before requiring an initial shop visit, and about 10,000 hours after overhaul. The TOW core upgrade will improve post-overhaul time on wing by as much 1,500 to 2,000 cycles. Also, lower operating temperatures, coupled with material improvements, reduce operating costs.
"This is a strategic win for us," said Bob Barton, general manager of Upgrade Sales for CFM. "Air China is a long-time customer and we're happy to have the opportunity to put that relationship on a new level. It also provides us with a great opportunity to demonstrate the overall value this upgrade can bring to Chinese airlines, which operate 350 CFM56-3 engines.