CFM International has delivered the 7,000th CFM56-7B engine to Boeing Commercial Airplanes, paving the way for delivery of the 3,500th Next-Generation 737 aircraft. COPA Airlines will receive the engines on its Next-Generation 737 later this year.
"Even we could not have predicted the phenomenal success this program has become," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM International. "Over the years, CFM and Boeing have worked closely together to develop and refine an airplane/engine combination that provides exceptional operating economics. Today, this is the best-selling aircraft/engine combination in aviation history and the broad industry acceptance reinforces the fact that we have made the right investments and that our customers are reaping the benefits."
As the Next-Generation 737 family continues its unprecedented success, the two companies are also celebrating another major milestone. On October 31, 1980, Boeing and CFM signed an agreement that would help change the face of commercial aviation: the CFM56-3 engine would become the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 737-300/-400/-500 series of aircraft.
The two companies optimistically predicted they would sell about 400 airplanes. By the end of the production run in 1999, 3,974 engines and 1,987 airplanes had been delivered and the CFM-3-powered Classic 737 had become a story for the record books.
Boeing launched the Next-Generation 737 family in 1993, and CFM was again selected as the exclusive engine supplier. Compared to the CFM56-3, the advanced CFM56-7B provided 25 percent more thrust, 5 percent better fuel burn, and 15 percent lower maintenance costs.
Since entering service in 1997, CFM has continued to improve the engine. In 2007, the company introduced the Tech Insertion configuration, which reduced fuel consumption by 1 percent over the life of the program. Boeing will soon begin flight testing the advanced CFM56-7BE engine that will provide at least an additional 1 percent improvement in fuel burn as well as 4 percent lower maintenance costs (depending on the thrust rating). The aircraft is on schedule for certification and entry into service in third quarter of 2011.
The CFM56-7B-powered Boeing 737-600/-700/-800/-900/-900ER fleet has achieved a remarkable 125 million engine flight hours in revenue service with 190 operators worldwide. The engine maintains a 99.98 percent dispatch reliability rate, and has one of the best time on wing records in the industry. Nearly 70 percent of all CFM56-7B engines delivered to date have yet to undergo a first shop visit, with the average initial time on wing of approximately 30,000 hours.
In fact, this engine is so reliable powering the Boeing 737 that, statistically, a pilot will experience an in-flight shutdown only once every 85+ years. How can this be? The engine's current in-flight shutdown rate of 0.002 translates to one in-flight shutdown every 500,000 flight hours. Based on a typical 737 utilization of about 3,000 hours of operation annually, that equates to one in-flight shutdown event at the airplane level (two engines) roughly every 85 years.
Overall, the CFM56-powered fleet has logged more than 500 million flight hours in service powering more than 8,900 commercial and military aircraft worldwide as the most reliable engines in the air.
CFM International (CFM) is the 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric Company. The company has delivered a total of nearly 21,500 CFM56 engines, making it one of the most successful aircraft engine suppliers in history.