- WestJet Airlines has placed a $300 million purchase/ lease order for CFM56-7 engines to power a fleet of up to 70 Boeing Next-Generation 737-700/-600 aircraft.
The airline has ordered 20 firm, 30 option CFM56-7-powered 737s, in addition to signing an agreement with GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) to lease 10 firm, 10 option 737s. Delivery of the leased aircraft will begin in the second quarter 2001. If all options are exercised, the airline would have the entire fleet in service by 2008.
The CFM56-7 is produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
WestJet, which just celebrated its 4th anniversary, is a new CFM customer. The airline, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, plans to use the Next-Generation 737s to replace its current fleet of 737-200 aircraft, as well as provide fleet growth to support its expansion into eastern Canadian cities.
Since entering revenue service in December 1997, the CFM56-7 has built an outstanding in-service record powering the Boeing Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800 series of aircraft. To date, more than 475 CFM56-7-powered 737s have been delivered, representing the most rapid fleet ramp up in aviation history. Despite this unprecedented fleet build up, the engine has maintained reliability numbers comparable to more mature engines.
As a result of its in-service reliability, the CFM56-7-powered 737 has become the first single-aisle aircraft in its class to be granted 180-minute ETOPS (extended range, twin-engine operations) approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
CFM56 engines have been selected to power 55 percent of the commercial aircraft with a capacity of 100 passengers or more ordered over the last seven years. Since the company's formation in 1974, CFM has received orders for more than 13,300 engines from 290 customers worldwide at a value of nearly $60 billion. There are currently 10,400 CFM56 engines in service.