ISTAT Day 1: Engine updates for CFM, GE, RR and PW

Feb. 29, 2016, (c) Leeham Co.: The LEAP engine, for the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus ISTAT-logo_no_tag-(2c)A320neo and COMAC C919 is the fastest-selling engine in history, says Jean-Paul Ebanga, the president of CFM International. More than 10,000 have been sold.

  • We’re at the 2016 ISTAT AGM in Phoenix and will be reporting today and tomorrow on presentations and news from the sidelines.

“It’s on-time and on-spec,” Ebanga said. It’s either been on the date set four years ago or ahead of schedule. The engines delivered to Airbus for the A320neo are on spec, he said. It’s been certified for the neo and will be certified soon for the MAX, with 90% of the information submitted.

There have been “zero disruption, zero snag and zero out-station removal” for both the A320neo and MAX programs since the first flight in May 2015, Ebanga said.

What’s next? “It’s delivering all those airplanes to market,” he said. There was a record number of CFM56 delivered last year and another record will be delivered this year. About 2,000 engines a year will be delivered in 2019.

“We are running the most comprehensive readiness plan ever to be ready to deliver all those numbers,” he said.

GE Aviation

Bill Brown, Commercial Engines Marketing Director for GE Aviation, said that GE and CFM will introduce eight new engines in five years, ranging from the A320neo to the Boeing 777X.

A lot of the work done for these engines have their roots in fundamental technologies from the 1980s. Research on carbon fiber materials, low NOx technology and others are showing up in benefits today. Ceramic Composites are the next big leap in technology, Brown said.

“LEAP has been the most successful flight test program in the history of GE Aviation,” said Brown.

The GE9X is 20% more efficient on the compressors than previous ones. Ceramic shrouds, nozzles and potentially have application to other critical parts in the future.

“We can’t know what aircraft will be next, but whatever it is, it won’t surprise us,” because of continued research and investment in a variety of technologies, Brown says.

Pratt & Whitney

PW had a busy year last year, with the certification of the GTF-powered A320neo, mating the smaller version with the Embraer E190-E2, a first flight with yet another version of the Mitsubishi MRJ90 and flight testing beginning of the Irkut MC-21 GTF model.

The V2500 engine will be in production for a long time, says Rick Deurloo, SVP Sales, Marketing and customer support. The Embraer KC-390 uses this engine and the airplane is currently in flight testing. (Embraer is embarking on a world wide sales campaign for the airplane.)

PW has 7,000 orders in backlog across five platforms for more than 70 customers.

This year the Bombardier CSeries enters service and the first flight for the EJet-E2 program.


“Our investment in technology…is having a very real effect on our services,” says Simon Goodson, SVP Lessor Customers. More than 90% of Trent engines today are under the Total Care maintenance program.

As engines age to 12-15 years, “we have to have a plan for it,” Goodson says. Additional shops are being opened in the US, three in the Middle East and another in the Far East.

The transitions from older engines are increasing from 25 to as many as 80 each year, within five years. “It’s critical that we transition these more quickly.


Ebanga said CFM took the CFM56 as the reference point to design the LEAP to be better and keep performance on the wing longer than the CFM56. (The CFM56 already has the longest time on wing of any engine.)

He said the front end of the LEAP, which is full carbon, includes “maintenance-free” fan blades. “We are providing value for our customers” by providing an engine that is less prone to foreign object damage.

Deurloo said the GTF is designed to be better than the V2500. He said the geared architecture likewise brings value to the customer, with lower maintenance costs.

Brown said maintenance and MRO providers have to learn how to maintain the new technologies that need high-tech repair capabilities.

Brown noted that the time on wing gains has outpaced the increase in pricing of LLPs. “every upgrade in a GE (CFM) engine has an increase in time on wing component.

“We think the customers are getting a good deal” in durability vs pricing.

Goodson said, “I’m not aware of anybody in the industry who isn’t under pressure to reduce costs,” adding that the OEMs have to recoup costs.



13 Comments on “ISTAT Day 1: Engine updates for CFM, GE, RR and PW

  1. I discount the C919 in CFM calcs.

    Its not even flying yet, sales are bogusly bulked up so that is nothing to go by and they are developing their own engine.

    If they force the carriers all to use say 40 each, a fuel in efficient maint heavy engine is not a factor (and or they simply pay them a fee to offset the costs)

  2. I think Pratt is already working on the GTF mkII to keep ahead. For the next few years they’ll be ramping up production, improving reliability getting all versions right. But the promise of new materials, higher pressure ratio’s and higher BPR’s was already done.

    A next generation GTF will have a bigger carbon fan, higher overall pressure ratio, new ceramics in the hot section and probably be even quieter than todays engines. Probably up to 45k lbs.

    A further 10% improvement over the latest GTF engines is not that far away and it seems hard to match bu a LEAP engine.

    • The last I read P&W felt they could get a 2% improvement per year with the current.

      And definitely they have aspirations for the 45k thrust class per the MOM or the re-wing on the 737 (though the re-wing is probably more like 38 to 40 k thrust)

      Still to be determined for both LEAP and GTF is the reliability and maint interval.

      CFM56 set an amazingly high bar in that regards

      • Add in P&W has to prove the basic engine structure is clear of issues. After 3 busts I will wait to see how it does in that regard.

  3. When Ebanga emphasizes that the A320neo LEAPs are on spec, does that mean that the LEAPs for the MAX are not?

    • I was wondering the same thing. Very little has been said since the rumours months ago that LEAP was as much as 5% short of target for the MAX.

  4. The takeaway that Leap is benefitting from 30 years R+D isn’t really a surprise, P+W have been working just as long on GTF. So how much is left that can be done to the existing (Leap) architecture?

    I’ve no doubt Leap will be reliable, after a couple of years, but in five years time when fuel is back up will a 5%+ SFC disadvantage work?

    • ” but in five years time when fuel is back up will a 5%+ SFC disadvantage work?”

      Where are you getting that number from? You make that up or is that published somewhere?

      GE/CFM have PW in the crosshairs. Not only is GE way ahead on ceramic composites and materials technology, if they decide to go GTF, that combined with their materials technology lead will really put a lot of pressure on PW.

      LEAP will be the baseline for the future GE/CFM GTF engine. They will wait to see the technology mature and then move on.

      “When Ebanga emphasizes that the A320neo LEAPs are on spec, does that mean that the LEAPs for the MAX are not?”

      I think he was asked that same question before with regard to the MAX engine effort and he said the same thing. So, I think he means both airframes.

      • Hi, Airbus have been quoting Leap-1A as 12% improvement on their baseline since the start of the NEO program, there has been no change since that I know of. Lufthansa A320-GTF has a 16+% improvement, and it has been pointed out this is a bad time of the year in Germany due to headwinds, so I rounded up to 5% difference.

      • “GE/CFM have PW in the crosshairs. Not only is GE way ahead on ceramic composites and materials technology, if they decide to go GTF, that combined with their materials technology lead will really put a lot of pressure on PW.”

        – We can reword it to say that PW has CFM in their crosshairs as well. PW is way ahead of CFM in GTF technology.

        • P&W may appear to be ahead in GTF technology until you realise that GE bought (Fiat )Avio who were the IAE partner and designed/build the GTF gearbox.

          So that now its GE Avio who is the supplier to P&Ws new baby

          • Oh right. I missed that amidst all the scepticism put out by GE on the use of GTF technology.

            But more to the point, over the next decade, I believe it would be easier for PW to roll out new material upgrades in small steps on the existing GTF than it is for CFM to bolt on a GTF gearbox on their LEAP. The latter will likely have to wait until the next new engine development to make use of it.

            And beyond the next 10 years, RR could be in the game as well with their own GTF UltraFan.

          • Im sure they have a concept which they have modelled on their computers and have offered to Boeing for the fabled MOM!
            Of course its not just a bolt on but a major redesign with fewer stages and faster running but that big carbon fan with a high BPR will be a treat

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