EVENDALE, OHIO December 20, 2005 The Advanced Upgrade kit being installed in Southwest Airlines' fleet of CFM56-3 engines is having a positive impact on the environment by significantly reducing fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions.
CFM56-3 engines power the Boeing 737 "Classic" series of aircraft and were produced from 1984 to 1997 by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric Company. The CFM56-3 Advanced Upgrade package resulted from strong technical collaboration between Snecma and GE. This program is a great example of GE's "ecomagination" product focus - a commitment to develop new, cost-effective technologies that enhance customers' environmental and operating performance. Southwest Airlines launched the CFM56-3 Advanced Upgrade package in 2001 with an order for 300 kits. In late 2004, the airline ordered 55 additional kits in order to upgrade its entire fleet of 175 737 Classic aircraft. To date, 200 upgrade kits have been installed, with remaining deliveries to continue through 2007. This fleet recently surpassed one million flight hours.
The 200 upgraded engines in service are saving Southwest approximately three million gallons of fuel per year, or 30,000 gallons per aircraft. Once the entire fleet has been upgraded, the savings is estimated to be more than 5.3 million gallons per year.
"With each new engine model, CFM incorporates new technologies that provide key environmental benefits," said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM. "This program infuses new technologies into a very large engine fleet already in service for years. With this investment, Southwest has both reduced its operating costs while addressing important environmental challenges."
Reducing fuel consumption is the most efficient way to reduce aircraft emissions. This is especially true for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which directly contribute to global warming. The CFM56-3 Advanced Upgrade is currently reducing CO2 emitted by the Southwest fleet by 23,400 tons per year. Once all 355 kits have been installed, that number becomes 41,550 tons per year, or 234 tons per aircraft per year.
The Advanced Upgrade kit features three-dimensional high-pressure compressor (HPC) aerodynamics (3-D aero) and new high-pressure turbine hardware. The upgrade is installed during normal overhaul and provides significant benefits, including: up to a 1.6 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption (which directly impacts fuel burn), as well as up to 22 degrees additional exhaust gas temperature (EGT) margin, which reduces maintenance costs through longer on-wing life.
CFM is the world's leading manufacturer of jet engines for transport aircraft, with more than 15,500 delivered to date to more than 430 operators worldwide.