COPA (Compania Panamena de Aviacion), Panama's major commercial airline, today launched the CFM56-7-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737 in Central America with a firm order for eight new 737 aircraft. The engine order is valued at about $80 million, and the airline will begin taking delivery of its new 737-700s in the year 2000.
COPA, which is a new CFM customer, will lease four additional 737s in 1999. The airline plans to place the first leased aircraft into revenue service in April and take delivery of all four by year's end. The airline is using the new 737s to expand its route structure into the entire region and specially the southern cone of South America and to replace its 737-200 aircraft. Based on its long-term fleet plan, COPA could eventually operate as many as 19 Next-Generation 737s.
The CFM56-7 engine is produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States and is the world's leading supplier of engines for commercial aircraft with a capacity of 100 passengers or more.
"We are obviously pleased to add COPA as a CFM customer," said Doug Izarra, CFM Sales Director for Latin America & Caribbean. "This order represents a tremendous vote of confidence for CFM and we look forward to building a strong relationship with this airline. COPA is placing its future fleet in our hands and we are certain that the CFM56-7's reliability and low cost of ownership will show that they made the right choice."
Since entering revenue service in January 1998, Next-Generation 737s have logged more than 365,000 flight hours and more than 190,000 cycles. This rapid accumulation of hours is due to the high utilization rate of the aircraft. Southwest Airlines' 737s, which have the highest utilization rate of the fleet, accumulate an average of 13 flights per day.
The CFM56-7 engine was developed to provide Next-Generation 737 operators with substantial improvements versus the industry-leading CFM56-3 on the classic 737, including dramatically lower operating costs, better performance, higher reliability, and improved operability. By incorporating such advanced technology as three-dimensional aero design, a high efficiency wide chord fan, and advanced electronic engine control, the CFM56-7 has fulfilled that promise in service.
The engine's specific fuel consumption (SFC) is significantly 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, resulting in increased EGT (exhaust gas temperature) margin, and has incorporated advanced materials and thermal barrier coatings in the high pressure turbine for enhanced durability. 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 other CFM56 engines.
Since the Next-Generation 737 program was launched in 1993, more than 70 airlines worldwide have ordered more than 1,100 aircraft, make it the fastest-selling aircraft/engine combination in history. More than 165 Boeing Next-Generation 737s have been delivered to date.