- South African Airways (SAA) has become CFM International's newest customer with an order for 21 CFM56-7-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft. The aircraft will begin delivery in May of this year. The CFM56-7 engines powering SAA's 737s will be rated at 27,300 pounds takeoff thrust.
The CFM56-7 is produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
South African Airways is revamping its entire fleet of single-aisle aircraft to service its routes throughout the African continent.
"We are extremely pleased to add SAA to the long list of CFM56 customers," said Jean-Pierre Cojan, senior vice president of Marketing & Sales for CFM. "We consider SAA a key player in Africa, which has considerable growth potential. We also view this as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the South African industry, which will directly benefit from this order."
"In the current fleet rationalization process, the CFM56-7 will replace three different engine types," said Coleman Andrews, CEO of South African Airways. "This, as well as the CFM56's superior economics, will strongly contribute to optimizing our operating costs in the challenging environment that SAA is facing as it returns to profitability."
CFM has a strong presence in Africa with 72 aircraft in service with 18 airlines and an additional 35 on order. Five of the six CFM56 engine models are in this fleet powering Boeing Classic and Next-Generation 737, Airbus Industrie A320, and A340 aircraft.
The CFM56-7 has built an outstanding in-service record since its first delivery in 1997. About 500 airplanes have been delivered to date and the fleet has logged more than 2.4 million flight hours while maintaining a 99.94 dispatch reliability rate. The CFM56-7-powered 737 made history last year when it became the first single-aisle aircraft in its class to be granted 180-minute Extended-Range, Twin-Engine Operations (ETOPS) approval by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, only two years after entry into service.
CFM is the world's leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines and delivered the 10,000th CFM56 engine last year. Since the company was formed in 1974, CFM has received firm orders for nearly 14,000 engines at a value of about $70 billion. These orders represent nearly 50 percent of the market for 100+-passenger aircraft. In 1999, the company experienced its fourth best year ever, with firm orders for 986 engines.