The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted 180-minute extended-range, twin-engine operations (ETOPS) approval to the CFM56-7-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737 family of airplanes. The Next-Generation 737 is the first single-aisle airplane in its class to be granted 180-minute approval; the Next-Generation 737 gained 120-minute approval in late 1998, less than one year after its entry into service.
The CFM56-7, the exclusive powerplant for the Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900 and Boeing Business Jet models, is manufactured by CFM International (CFM). CFM, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric Company of the United States, is the world's leading supplier of commercial transport engines.
ETOPS approval, which provides airlines greater route-scheduling flexibility such as long over-water flights, is based on engine/aircraft reliability. To date, CFM56-7 engines have logged more than 1.4 million flight hours and more than 772,000 flight cycles. By year's end, the fleet will have accumulated 2.5 million flight hours. The delivery schedule for this engine/aircraft combination represents the most rapid ramp-up in aviation history, with more than 300 airplanes delivered to date. Despite this unprecedented fleet buildup, the engine has maintained reliability numbers comparable to more mature engines. Currently, the CFM56-7 has a dispatch reliability rate of 99.94 percent, meaning that fewer than one flight per 1,000 is delayed or canceled for engine-related issues. The engine also has a .013 shop visit rate, and a 0.008 in-flight shutdown rate. The CFM56-7 has been able to achieve these outstanding rates in very demanding circumstances. For example, Southwest 737s, which have the highest utilization rate, accumulate an average of 13 flights per day.