BEIJING, CHINA November 28, 2005 East Star Airlines, a new start-up carrier in China, has signed a Letter of Agreement to purchase CFM56-5B engines to power it's new fleet of 10 firm Airbus A320 aircraft that will be delivered in 2009/2010.
CFM56-5B engines are produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric company. 2005 marks CFM's 20th anniversary in China and, today, it is the leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines to Chinese airlines, with more than 1,100 engines in service powering more than 500 Airbus and Boeing aircraft with 14 airlines in that country.
"We selected CFM56 engines after an extensive technical evaluation," said Mr. Lan Shili, Chairman & CEO of China East Star Group Co. Ltd. "The performance and low cost of ownership advantages that the CFM56-5B provides will help ensure our airline of a smooth and successful launch into service."
East Star Airlines, China's fourth registered private airline, was established in June 2005. The airline, a subsidiary of China East Star Group Co. Ltd, is headquartered in Wuhan, Hubei Province and is scheduled to begin scheduled passenger service in May 2006. In addition to the purchased A320s, the airlines has also signed an agreement to lease 10 additional CFM56-5B-powered Airbus A319/A320 aircraft. The leased aircraft are scheduled for delivery between 2006 and 2008. "We are honored that East Star Airlines has chosen to power it's fleet with the CFM56-5B," said Andy Solem, president of CFM International China. "We thank them for their trust and offer them our commitment that we will continue to earn that trust every day."
The high reliability, long on-wing life, and low maintenance costs of the CFM56-5 make it extremely popular with major airlines, low-cost carriers, and leasing companies worldwide. More than 2,000 CFM56-5B engines have been delivered to date, and the fleet is growing at a rate of about 20 engines per month.
Primary factors behind the engine's broad-based market acceptance include this industry's best reliability, durability, and low cost of ownership. The CFM56-5B is the only engine that can power every model of the A320 family, from the small A318 up to the A321, with the same bill of materials, giving airlines a significant commonality advantage.