The CFM56-powered fleet currently in service with more than 20 Chinese airlines has logged a total of more than 5 million flight hours while maintaining the outstanding reliability that is the hallmark of CFM.
CFM56 engines are produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric Company of the United States.
The first CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737s were delivered to Yunnan Airlines and China Southwest Airlines in 1985; Air China received its first aircraft in early 1986. Since then, more than 215 Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft and Boeing Classic and Next-Generation 737s have been delivered. An additional 100 CFM56 engines are currently on order to power 50 aircraft scheduled for delivery over the next five years.
To date, the in-service fleet has logged about 5.2 million flight hours and 3.1 million flight cycles. The CFM56 engines in China, which include the CFM56-3, CFM56-5B, CFM56-5C, and CFM56-7, have a dispatch reliability rate of 99.99 percent-fewer than one departure per 10,000 is delayed or cancelled for engine-related issues. The fleet also has a cumulative shop visit rate of 0.039, which translates to fewer than one unplanned shop visit per 25,650 flight hours (single-aisle aircraft such as the A320 and 737 logged 3,000 to 5,000 hours annually). In addition, the fleet maintains an outstanding in-flight shutdown rate of only 0.002; this statistic translates to one engine-caused in-flight shutdown every 500,000 flight hours.
"We are very excited that the CFM fleet in China is doing so well, but I cannot say we are surprised," said Grard Laviec, president of CFM. "We believe that CFM builds the most reliable engines in the industry, but we know that it is our customers who keep them in the air. The maintenance crews of our Chinese customers are to be commended on doing such an exemplary job."
In recent years, CFM has brought two major programs on-line that are helping the company provide even greater support for the nearly 500 CFM56 engines currently in service in China.
Working closely with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), CFM opened the Aero Engine Maintenance Training Center (AEMTC) in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, adjacent to the CAAC Flying College, in November 1996. AEMTC offers courses from line maintenance to engine technology management on CFM56 and GE CF6 engines. To date, AEMTC has trained more than 1,600 students.
In addition, CFM and China Aviation Supply Company (CASC) have established a CFM Spares Service Center at Beijing Airport. The facility provides line maintenance parts for the CFM56-3, CFM56-5B, and CFM56-5C engines for more seamless support of Chinese 737, A320, and A340 operators. The Center has nearly 1,200 parts in stock and has shipped more than $10 million worth since it began operation in 1996. Prior to the Center's opening, it took two to three weeks for spare parts to reach China. With the aid of CASC, the Center has reduced that turnaround time to one to two days.