On January 24, 1974, Snecma (Safran Group), the French aircraft engine manufacturer, and General Electric, the U.S. industrial giant, signed an agreement that would redefine international cooperation and forever change commercial aviation. That agreement formally launched CFM International as a 50/50 joint company.
Twenty-five years later, CFM is the preferred supplier of commercial aircraft engines with a product line that serves as the industry benchmark for engine safety, reliability, maintainability, and cost of ownership.
Since the company was founded, CFM has received orders for more than 13,000 CFM56 engines having a value of approximately $65 billion. At the CFM reception on June 14th, CFM will ceremoniously deliver the 10,000th CFM56 engine to Airbus Industrie and Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. CFM has long-standing relationships with the two airplane manufacturers and each has made tremendous contributions to the company's long-term success.
"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Airbus and to Boeing, as well as our 270 customers around the world, for the great success that CFM has achieved," said Grard Laviec, president and CEO of CFM International. "Both manufacturers were willing to work with us in the early days of our product development. As a result of those relationships, we have a product line that we believe is the best in the industry today. As we look to the future, we are renewing our commitment to do everything in our power to assure them that they made the right choice."
The collaboration between Snecma (Safran Group) and GE was founded on a desire by both companies to produce a high bypass turbofan engine for the short-to-medium-range aircraft market which, in the early 1970s, were powered by low bypass engines. The agreement is structured such that the two parent companies share everything equally, from design and development to production and support. GE produces the high pressure system and the main fuel control, and provides system design integration. Snecma manufactures the fan, booster, low pressure turbine, and accessory gearbox, and provides engine installation design as well. Final engine assembly is performed both at GE's plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, and at Snecma facilities in Villaroche, France.
The CFM56 product line includes six engine models spanning the thrust range from 18,500 to 34,000 pounds (82 to 151 kN) thrust. Commercial applications include re-engined DC-8 Super 70 series aircraft; Airbus Industrie A319, A320, and A321 single-aisle aircraft, the long-range A340, and the A319 Corporate Jet; and Boeing Classic 737-300/-400/-500, Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900 and the Boeing Business Jet. CFM56 engines have also been used to re-engine military applications such as the KC-135R, AWACS, and the E-6 submarine communications aircraft.
The CFM56 fleet has achieved more than 130 million flight hours in service powering more than 2,500 commercial and military aircraft worldwide as the most reliable engines in the air.