Sabena Belgian Airlines today took delivery of its first new CFM56-5B-powered Airbus A320 aircraft. In early 1998, Sabena placed the largest aircraft order in its history when it selected the CFM56-5B to power 34 firm A319/A320/A321 aircraft.
CFM56-5B 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. Overall, CFM56 engines have been chosen to power 55 percent of all 100+ passenger aircraft ordered between January 1993 and December 1998. In 1999 to date, CFM has received orders to power more than 265 aircraft, representing more than 60 percent of the aircraft market.
Sabena, which is partially owned by Swissair, is a long-time CFM customer. The airline operates a fleet of four long-range, four-engine Airbus A340 aircraft powered by CFM5-5C engines and 15 CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737s. Sabena is using the new A320 aircraft to expand and modernize its short-to-medium-range fleet. Thus far, the airline has taken delivery of two of the three A321s it has on order and is scheduled to begin taking delivery of the 26 A319s in October. Sabena has ordered five A320s; following today's aircraft, a second one will be delivered in the fall of 1999, with 2 more coming in 2001 and the final one in February 2002.
Sabena 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 CFM56-5B is equipped with CFM's advanced double annular combustor (DAC), which reduces NOx emissions by as much as 45 percent compared with engines equipped with a single annular combustor. Developed specifically for the Airbus A320 family, the DAC entered revenue service with Swissair and Austrian Airlines in 1995. CFM is the only engine supplier to offer this technology in the short-to-medium range aircraft market.