An Airbus Industrie A318 equipped with CFM56-5B engines flew for the first time today from Hamburg, Germany to Toulouse, France, initiating a flight test program that will culminate in aircraft certification and entry into service in mid-2003.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the French Direction Gnrale de l'Aviation Civile jointly certified two new thrust ratings for the A318 in late July: the CFM56-5B8, rated at 21, 600 pounds (96 kN) thrust, and the CFM56-5B9, rated at 23,300 pounds (103.5 kN) thrust. No hardware changes were required for these new ratings.
The CFM56-5B is a member of the CFM56 engine family produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) of France and General Electric. With more than 13,000 engines in service, CFM is the world's leading aircraft engine supplier.
Airbus Industrie confirmed earlier this year that the CFM56-5B will be the first engine in service on the new A318. Aircraft certification is expected in May 2003, and the first CFM56-5-powered A318 will be delivered to Frontier Airlines in July 2003. Air France is scheduled to begin taking delivery of its A318s in October 2003. In addition to the Air France (15 firm, 10 option) and Frontier (five firm, five option) orders, GE Capital Aviation Services has 30 CFM56-5B-powered A318s on order and will receive its first airplane in 2004.
The CFM56-5B engines for the A318 are the same as those powering the Airbus A319/A320/A321. As the only engine that can power every model of the A320 family with the same bill of materials, the CFM56-5B provides airlines a distinct commonality advantage, in addition to the lowest cost of operation on this application. The CFM56-5B can also be ordered with the optional double annular combustor (DAC).
The CFM56-5 continues to be the engine of choice for the Airbus A320 family, having been selected to power 56 percent of all A318/A319/A320/A321 aircraft ordered to date.