WASHINGTON, DC — 11 February 2014 — During a special ceremony at the US Chamber of Commerce today, Safran and General Electric Company (GE) marked the signing of the historic partnership agreement that formed CFM International in 1974.
Participating in the celebration were Arnaud Montebourg, French Minister of Industrial Renewal, Nicole Bricq, French Minister of Foreign Trade, Jean-Paul Herteman, chief executive officer of Safran, David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, and Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International. This event is held in conjunction with French Presiden François Hollande’s state visit to Washington DC.
The event launches a nearly year-long celebration that will culminate on September 24, 2014 – the 40th anniversary of the world's most successful international joint venture. In 2008, the companies renewed the partnership agreement to the year 2040.
"In the early 1970s, the GE/Snecma (Safran) partnership broke the mold for international cooperation," said Jean-Paul Herteman, chief executive officer of Safran. "Our founding fathers, Gerhard Neumann (GE) and René Ravaud (Snecma), made an indelible mark on the aviation industry. At the time, many skeptics thought it would be impossible for a government-owned French company to successfully partner with a public U.S. corporation like GE. Because of their vision and tenacity, CFM has been proving the skeptics wrong ever since, delivering the most reliable, cost effective engines in the air. This company is now undisputedly the most successful international joint venture ever formed, and, even at 40 years young, this is only the beginning."
"The relationship between GE and Safran has never been stronger," said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. "Like our predecessors, we have a shared vision of what the future will be and we are making that vision a reality with the advanced new LEAP engine. Through CFM, GE and Snecma are demonstrating the tremendous power of long-term trans-Atlantic cooperation. Together, we are bringing the best and brightest minds in the world together to create a technical marvel that will usher in a whole new era in commercial aviation."
The original framework agreement was signed in 1974, creating CFM International as a 50/50 joint venture between the two aircraft engine manufacturers. It was a decision that would redefine international cooperation and help change the course of commercial aviation. The two companies had been involved in a co-production agreement on GE's CF6 engine family since 1968 and, thus, had already worked very successfully together.
The agreement calls for the two parent companies to share everything equally, from design and development to production and support and marketing and sales. Final engine assembly is performed both at GE facilities in the United States and at Snecma facilities in France.
The first CFM-powered aircraft, a DC-8 Super 70, entered commercial service on April 24, 1982 with Delta Air Lines. Today, CFM is the preferred supplier of commercial aircraft engines with a product line that serves as the industry benchmark for efficiency, reliability, and low overall cost of ownership.
More than 26,000 CFM56 engines powering 30 different aircraft applications have been delivered to date to more than 530 operators around the globe. The CFM56 fleet in service has logged 700 million flight hours in service powering more than 11,000 commercial and military aircraft worldwide as the most reliable engines in the air.
The advanced new LEAP engine, currently undergoing certification testing, has achieved broad-based market acceptance, with 6,000 engines ordered to date. The engine is delivering on the aggressive goals CFM set for it when the program was launched in 2008: a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency; double-digit improvements in noise and emissions; and the lowest overall cost of ownership in the industry. CFM is on track for engine certification for the U.S. FAA and European EASA in 2016 and entry into airline service in 2016.
In addition to the CFM joint venture, Snecma (Safran) and GE are partners on such highly successful programs and the GE90.