CFM International has formed a new Liaison Team in Beijing as part of the company's program to expand its already strong presence in China. The Liaison Team, which was officially established in September, is the first of its kind for CFM and underscores the company's commitment to this growing market.
CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States, is the world's leading supplier of engines for commercial transport aircraft. The CFM Team is located in General Electric's Beijing headquarters building.
The new Beijing Liaison Team will focus on the CFM56-9 program and related industrial cooperation activities in China. One of its primary responsibilities will be to coordinate with Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) on the CFM56-9 as a potential powerplant for the new AE-100. As part of this program, seven AVIC engineers are currently undergoing an extensive six-month training program at GE facilities in the United States and at Snecma facilities in France.
The CFM Beijing Liaison Team will also help coordinate the industrial cooperation agreements between CFM's parent companies and the Chinese aviation industry. AVIC has produced more than $46 million CFM56 parts at its facilities in Shenyang and Xian since 1986; that level is expected to reach $20 million annually by the year 2000.
In late 1996, AVIC received an $8 million purchase order to manufacture CFM56 hardware over the next several years. As part of this program, CFM is helping AVIC construct a new Center of Excellence (COE) at Xian Aero Engine Factory; the COE is scheduled to become operational in early 1998. COEs are designed to bring together engineering, manufacturing, quality control, and sourcing in one area to ensure a high quality product while reducing cycle time. This process has proven to be highly successful in development programs such as the new CFM56-7.
In addition, preparations are being made with Lining, Xian, Liyang, and Xinyi aero engine factories to develop/manufacture parts similar to those of the CFM56-9 in China. Most of these parts are for the new CFM56-7, and quality representatives are assigned full time to assist with these development efforts.
Also in 1996, two major programs came on-line that are enabling CFM to improve its support of the nearly 300 CFM56 engines currently in service in China.
Working closely with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), CFM opened the new Aero Engine Maintenance Training Center (AEMTC) in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, adjacent to the CAAC Flying College in November 1996. AEMTC offers courses from line maintenance to engine technology management on CFM56-3, CFM56-5C, and GE CF6 engines. By year's end, AEMTC will have trained nearly 1,000 students, including some 240 maintenance personnel trained on-site at Chinese airlines prior to AEMTC's opening.
At the same time, CFM worked with China Aviation Supply Company (CASC) to establish a CFM Spares Service Center at Beijing Airport. The facility provides line maintenance parts for the CFM56-3, CFM56-5B, and CFM56-5C engines for more seamless support of Chinese 737, A320, and A340 operators. The Center has nearly 1,200 parts in stock and has shipped more than $2.2 million worth since it began operation last November. Prior to the Center's opening, it took two to three weeks for spare parts to reach China. With the aide of CASC, the Center has reduced that turnaround time to one to two days.