United Continental Holdings orders LEAP-1B-powered 737 MAX aircraft; expands CFM56-7B fleet

July 12, 2012


FARNBOROUGH, England - United Continental Holdings, parent company of United Airlines, today announced a firm order for 100 advanced LEAP-1B-powered Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.  At the same time, the airline also ordered 50 CFM56-7B-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER aircrft.  The combined value of the engine order, along with a long-term service agreement, is approximately $5.0 billion U.S. at list price. 

United signed a Rate per Flight Hour (RPFH) agreement with CFM International (CFM) to support all 200 LEAP-1B engines the airline ordered to power its new Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.  Under the terms of the comprehensive 12-year service and support agreement, CFM will guarantee engine maintenance costs on a dollar per engine flight hour basis.

United is a long-time CFM customer and operates a fleet of more than 225 CFM56-powered Boeing 737 Classic and Next-Generation aircraft.

“We are thrilled that United Airlines has entrusted its future single-aisle fleet to the new LEAP engine,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of CFM parent company GE Aviation.  “This order brings the third generation of CFM-powered 737s to the United fleet and launches an exciting new era in our long relationship.” 

The LEAP-1B, which is the result of an exhaustive six-year collaboration effort with Boeing, is the exclusive powerplant for the new 737 variant, with the engine uniquely optimized for the airplane.   The 737 MAX continues a 30-year relationship between CFM and Boeing; CFM engines have been the sole powerplant for all 737 aircraft sold since 1981.

LEAP engines incorporate revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment.  The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology. 

As a result, operators of the 737 MAX will achieve up to 13 percent lower fuel burn compared to today’s best CFM56-powered 737; an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions; a 50 percent reduction in NOx emissions versus current ICAO CAEP/6 requirements; a 75 percent reduction in the aircraft noise footprint; all while maintaining the benefits of CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs. 

The LEAP and CFM56 engine families are products of CFM International a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE. 


About United
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,605 flights a day to 375 airports on six continents from hubs in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.  In 2011, United carried more traffic than any other airline in the world, and operated more than two million flights carrying 142 million passengers. United is upgrading its cabins with more flat-bed seats in first and business class and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any other airline in North America.  United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has orders for more than 125 new aircraft deliveries from 2012 through 2019.  United Airlines is part of United Continental Holdings, Inc.


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