Alaska Airlines has launched the CFM56-7 powerplant on the new Boeing Next-Generation 737-900 with an order for engines to power 10 firm aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2001 and 2002. The engine order is valued at approximately $100 million.
The CFM56-7 is the exclusive powerplant for the Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800 and new -900 family of airplanes. The engine is produced by CFM International, the world's largest supplier of commercial transport aircraft engines and a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
In addition to the 10 firm 737-900 orders, Alaska has also obtained options to purchase 10 additional 737-900 aircraft. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 28 737-400s powered by the CFM56-3. As part of the new order, Alaska has firmed two 737-400 options and converted three additional options to Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft. The 737-400s are scheduled for delivery next year, while the new 737-700s will be delivered in 1999.
The CFM56-7 will be rated at 24,000, 26,000, and 27,000 pounds takeoff thrust for the 737-900. The engine was certified at 27,300 pounds thrust in December 1996 and, thus, there are no additional engine certification requirements for the 737-900. The new airplane, which will be the longest in the Next-Generation family, is scheduled for certification in the year 2000.
The new CFM56-7 engine offers Next-Generation Boeing 737 customers dramatically lower operating costs while maintaining industry-leading performance, reliability, and operability.
The CFM56-7's advanced technology, which includes three-dimensional aero design, a high-efficiency wide-chord fan, advanced electronic engine control and active clearance control systems, will provide significant cost benefits.
The engine's specific fuel consumption (SFC) is about 8 percent lower than that of the CFM56-3 on current 737s, resulting in better aircraft fuel burn. A reduction of 1 percent in fuel burn can mean an annual savings of up to $15,000 per aircraft.
In addition, CFM has improved the engine cycle, resulting in increased EGT (exhaust gas temperature) margin, and has incorporated advanced materials and thermal barrier coatings in the high pressure turbine for enhanced durability. CFM56-7 maintenance costs are projected to be 15 percent lower at equivalent thrust than those of the industry-leading CFM56-3C1. Engine reliability, low operating temperatures, and durability features will extend time on-wing up to 20 percent compared to other CFM56 engines.
Through October, there have been 720 announced orders for CFM56-7-powered Next-Generation 737 aircraft. Since the CFM56-7-powered 737 program was launched, it has become the fastest selling engine/aircraft combination in history. There are more than 8,000 CFM56 engines currently in service on nearly 3,000 aircraft worldwide, and this fleet has logged more than 100 million engine flight hours and 65 million cycles. Overall, more than 12,000 CFM56 engines have been ordered or committed to date, at a value of more than $50 billion.