The CFM56-7-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 took to the air for the first time February 9, culminating more than three years of development work during which the engine logged more than 3,000 hours and 6,500 cycles in flight and ground testing.
The CFM56-7 is produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
The engine was jointly certified at 26,300 pounds thrust by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the French Direction Gnrale de l'Aviation Civile in late 1996, paving the way for aircraft certification and entry into service with Southwest Airlines in October of this year. The other members of the Next-Generation 737 series, the 737-800 and 737-600, will enter service in March and August 1998, respectively. The CFM56-7 is the exclusive powerplant for this aircraft family.
The advanced CFM56-7 is designed to provide airlines significant cost benefits. For example, the engine's specific fuel consumption is about 8 percent lower than that of the CFM56-3 on current 737s, resulting in better aircraft fuel burn. A reduction of 1 percent in fuel burn can mean an annual savings of up to $15,000 per aircraft. In addition, CFMI has improved the engine cycle and incorporated advanced materials and coatings in the high pressure turbine for enhanced durability. As a result, CFM56-7 maintenance costs are projected to be 15 percent lower at equivalent thrust than those of the industry-leading CFM56-3C1. Engine reliability, low operating temperatures, and durability features will extend time on-wing up to 20 percent compared to CFM56 engines currently in service.
Since the CFM56-7-powered 737 program was launched in 1993, it has become the fastest selling engine/aircraft combination in history, with 523 announced orders to date.