Sabena Belgian Airlines today took delivery of its first new Airbus Industrie A320 family aircraft, an A321, powered by CFM56-5B engines. In early 1998, the airline placed the largest order in its history when it chose the -5B-equipped with the advanced double annular combustor (DAC)- to power 34 Airbus 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. CFM is the world's leading supplier of commercial transport aircraft engines, garnering more than 50 percent of the 100+ passenger market in 1998 and holding a 55 percent share of this market over the past six years.
Sabena will take delivery of a total of 11 aircraft this year. When all 34 aircraft are delivered, Sabena will have 26 A319s, five A320s, and three A321s. The airline will use the A320s to expand and modernize its short-to-medium-range fleet. The airline, a long-time CFM customer, currently operates a fleet of five long-range, four-engine Airbus A340 aircraft powered by CFM5-5C engines and 17 CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737s.
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."
CFM's advanced double annular combustor reduces NOx emissions by as much as 40 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. Scandinavian Airlines System launched the DAC on the Boeing Next-Generation 737 family applications. To date, airlines worldwide have ordered 250 DAC-equipped aircraft. CFM is the only engine supplier to offer this technology in the 18,500- to 33,000-pound thrust range.