FARNBOROUGH July 19, 2004 In 1974, two aircraft engine manufacturers, Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric Company, signed an agreement that would redefine international cooperation and help change the course of commercial aviation. That agreement formally launched CFM International (CFM) as a 50/50 joint company.
Today, CFM is the preferred supplier of commercial aircraft engines with a product line that serves as the industry benchmark. More than 14,200 CFM56 engines have been delivered to 392 customers around the globe.
"We're just getting started," said Pierre Fabre, president and CEO of CFM. "The relationship between Snecma (Safran Group) and GE has never been better and their commitment to CFM has never been stronger."
Continual reinvestment in the CFM product line has yielded engines that stay on wing longer, are more reliable, are more cost-effective to maintain, and have the lowest overall cost of ownership of any engine in this thrust class. With technology upgrades such as CFM56-3 Time on Wing and CFM56-5C/P, CFM is helping today's customers extend the ownership horizon of these assets.
Technologies developed as part of Project TECH56 are being used in the near-term to develop the next generation of upgrades that will enter service in the next three to five years. CFM is evaluating a technology insertion program for the CFM56-5B and CFM56-7B and expects to make a launch decision later this year. Tech Insertion will provide customers lower maintenance costs, longer time on wing, better fuel burn, and lower emissions through improvements to the compressor, the combustor, and the high- and low-pressure turbines.
But this is not the end of Project TECH56; this technology will help serve as the basis for next-generation CFM56 engines.
CFM's evaluation of the long-term requirements for the single-aisle market indicates that more stringent noise requirements would be the most likely driver behind new aircraft applications. Engines to power these aircraft would also need to provide substantially lower overall operating costs and lower emissions.
"CFM56 engines have become the backbone of the world's single-aisle fleet," said Fabre. "The programs we have in place now help us maintain a solid position in the market, but we have to keep thinking ahead. What will our customers need 10 or 15 years down the road? How can CFM, along with Snecma and GE, best meet those needs?"
Preliminary studies under way at GE and Snecma are refining CFM's long-term strategy and identifying future technologies that will help CFM remain a market leader for the next 30 years and beyond. CFM expects to define the scope of those technologies and the associated demonstration program by early 2005.
"CFM did not come this far in 30 years by being complacent," said Fabre. "Whatever the future brings, the GE/Snecma team is making sure we'll be ready for it."