Northwest Airlines has elected to expand its CFM56-5A-powered Airbus A320 family fleet with an order for engines to power 30 additional aircraft at a value to CFM of about $300 million. The airline is firming options it took as part of a 1997 A320 order.
CFM56-5 engines are produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the Untied States.
Northwest operates one of the world's largest A320 fleets, with more than 65 A320s currently in service. The airline will take deliver of its first A319 aircraft later this year. With this latest aircraft order, which calls for 18 additional A319s and 12 additional A320s, Northwest now has the largest A320 family aircraft fleet (delivered and on order) in the world.
The CFM56-5A was the launching engine on the Airbus A320 and first entered service in 1988, and the -5A/-5B are the engines of choice for the A320 family, powering 60 percent of the aircraft on order. One of the primary factors behind the CFM56-5's broad-based market acceptance has been its simple, rugged architecture, which gives it the highest reliability, durability, and repairability in its class. CFM56-5 engines average 14,000 hours on wing prior to initial shop visit, and more than 10,000 hours after overhaul; no other engine in this thrust class can match this record. The CFM56-5 also has the advantage in global cost of ownership, which is determined by such factors as shop visit rate, life-limited parts, in-flight shutdown rate, delays and cancellations, and fuel burn. The CFM56-5-powered A320 fleet currently in service has logged more than 15.5 million engine flight hours and 10 million cycles.