Sabena's fleet of CFM56-powered aircraft has achieved a significant milestone, logging one million flight hours since the first aircraft was delivered.
CFM56 engines are produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States. CFM is the world's leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, garnering nearly 50 percent of the new aircraft orders placed in the last decade. In 1999, the company experienced its fourth best year ever, with firm orders for 986 engines. Overall, CFM has received firm orders for nearly 14,000 engines at a value of about $70 billion.
Sabena, one of the world's oldest airlines, took delivery of its first CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737-300 in 1987. Today, the airline has 15 CFM-powered 737s in service. In 1999, the airline expanded its wide-body fleet with an order for CFM56-5C engines to power new Airbus A340 aircraft. Sabena has four long-range, four-engine A340s in its fleet and will use the A340-300 on a new direct route from Brussels to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, that it plans to launch later this year.
In 1998, Sabena placed the largest single aircraft order in its history when it selected the CFM56-5B engine to power 34 Airbus A319/A320/A321 aircraft. When the airline placed this order, executives cited CFM's economic, technical, and environmental advantages as key factors in its engine selection, adding that in "medium- and short-haul carriers, the choice was based on equipment known for being the most economical and most respectful for the environment in this category."
The airline made a significant environmental choice when it ordered the -5B equipped with CFM's optional double annular combustor (DAC). DAC technology reduces oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emission by 50 percent compared to single-annular engines, and CFM is the only manufacturer to offer this low emissions technology in this thrust class. Swissair, which holds an equity stake in Sabena, was one of the airlines that provided the initial impetus for CFM to develop the DAC and has been operating A320s with the technology since 1996. Sabena began taking delivery of the A320s, which it is using to expand and modernize its short-to-medium-range fleet, in March 1999. Thus far, the airline has taken delivery of all three A321s it ordered, two A320s, and seven of the 26 A319s.
The CFM56 engine family includes six engine models that range from 18,500 to 34,000 pounds takeoff thrust and power 26 commercial and military applications. The first CFM56 engine was delivered in 1982. Today, there are more than 10,700 CFM56 engines in service with nearly 300 customers in 96 countries. This fleet has logged more than 145 million flight hours and 90 million flight cycles as the most reliable engines in the air. The commercial fleet maintains a 99.97 percent dispatch reliability rate, a .005 in-flight shutdown rate, and a .076 shop visit rate.