March 22, 2018, © Leeham News: GE Aviation/CFM International are in “lockstep” with Boeing for development of an engine for the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, or 797), the CEO of GE Aviation told a JP Morgan Aviation conference last week.
David Joyce acknowledged that there are technical issues and production delays for the new CFM LEAP 1A and 1B that power the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families respectively. Production is running up to six weeks late, but should be caught up by the end of this year, he said.
Technical issues, while affecting at least 100 engines, nevertheless are far less of an issue than those plaguing rival Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbo Fan.
Attention on the prospective launch by Boeing of the NMA is increasing. CFM, PW and Rolls-Royce all responded with information and proposals to Boeing, which is expected to decide in the fourth quarter which engine or engines to offer on the NMA. Authority to Offer the NMA for sale is also expected in the fourth quarter.
“We’re in lockstep with Boeing in terms of the evaluation of their product,” Joyce told the JP Morgan conference. “They’ve given us a series of milestones they want us to hit in terms of choosing engines for their airplane and we’re complying with every one of their requests.”
Joyce said CFM will probably be the engine provider rather than GE, if Boeing selects the family.
“I see no reason at all why we wouldn’t make LEAP the baseline,” he said. “It will be bigger, but it will be something advancing not a full generation, but a half generation in technology from what LEAP is today.”
It will be “kind of” a clean-sheet engine, Joyce said. “We’ll be able to put as much technology as we feel is mature enough, advanced technology, brand new stuff.”
Joyce said GE has yet to get comfortable with the business case. Analysis continues.
“How many engines [ie, OEMs] are going to be under the wing? How big is the market going to be? How fast is it going to grow? What’s the competitor response to it? Who’s underneath the wing of the competitor? And what’s going to happen next after this?” Joyce asked.
Joyce ruled out using geared turbo fan technology for this engine.
Joyce said CFM has a backlog of 14,500 LEAP engines. CFM has a 59% share of the A320neo market with customers that have made an engine selection.
He said the LEAP so far has an 18 percentage point advantage over the GTF in utilization rate. “A one point advantage in utilization can be as high as $500,000 in revenue per year,” he said.
The CFM56, on the A320ceo and 737NG, will continue well into the near-future. Joyce said the A320ceo has a surprisingly extended life beyond original phase out plans. (Although Joyce did not say so, the GTF problems on the A320neo spurred the longer life.)
“We were quite surprised at how strong the demand is,” Joyce said. “At one point, we didn’t expect to be shipping any CFMs past 2019. Now, we’re into 2019 and 2020 with existing classic CFMs, which is fine with us.”
GE continues to develop an Advance Turboprop, now called the Catalyst, aimed for a new generation airliner that will some day be designed to replace the ATR series and Bombardier Q400.
“It’s the first new turboprop in 35 years,” he said. It’s been designed with digital techniques and has full authority digital control with “more advanced analytic monitoring” than any other turboprop engine, he said.
Pratt & Whitney’s PW120/150 series has long-dominated the turboprop airliner market.