GE/CFM in “lockstep” with Boeing on NMA

David Joyce

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.

NMA competition

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.

Record production

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.

Boeing 737NG (left) and Boeing 737 MAX (right). Note the differences in the engine size and mounting. Photo by Leeham News. (Shot into the sun….)

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.”

Advanced Turboprop

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.

27 Comments on “GE/CFM in “lockstep” with Boeing on NMA

  1. Scott, first of all, congratulations on the great job you, Bjorn and your team do! I alawys find very relevant information here.
    I have the impression that if and when Boeing launches the NMA (aka 797) it will be with a single engine supplier, that is willing to invest and to capture all the sales. I think the very strong argument for Boeing to go that direction is that it would be able to contractually avoid Airbus to access the same engine or variations of it for their potential response. Looks like GE/CFM is pretty eager for this application.

    • Airbus would get the losing competitor, eagerly interested to stay in the market at all costs and would get a good deal (GE90-115, RR Trent XWB, PW GTF)

      • “Airbus would get the losing competitor”

        – I don’t think that is a sure thing.

        An exclusivity with Boeing would of course be good for Boeing as they lock out their potential competitor from getting access to the same engine.

        But for GE/CFM? Having their rival engine maker compete and take away a chunk of this small market via an alternate airframer would be bad. So, it would be in their best interest to try and supply the same engine to any potential NMA competitor as they would get to keep the entire market for themselves regardless of who it flies with.

    • Interesting that Mr Joyce says its a half generation advance. So will the full generation could be an engine for the NSA?

      Not sure if CFM wants to exclude Airbus from this and drive them further into the arms of RR and PW?

  2. The ~1,500 hp GE ATP is more a competitor for the PT6 than the 3,000-5,000hp PW120/150. The CT7/T700 is more a PW100 competitor, extended to the GE3000/T901 AATE.

  3. It will be really interesting to see to which conclusion Boing will come here:

    The GE/CFM engine will probably be the safest option, classic 2-spool design, only introducing more advanced materials. Half a generation means 5% fuel efficiency improvement? But that’s not exactly what the idea was.

    A similar engine would be the RR Advance. This engine is already being tested, but in a larger size. So while the Leap needs to grow, the Advance would need a shrink, both essentially new engines with an uncertain timeline.

    Same with P&W. The GTF would need to grow significantly, so again basically a new engine. Not sure if the aluminum fan would work in that size either.

    The most advanced engine would be the RR UltraFan, but I have no information about its state of development. Boeing probably knows more by now, but I guess its too far in the future for their current plans.

    If Boeing plays is safe and fast with the Leap+, they might be outplayed by Airbus in a few years with a competing plane sporting the UltraFan.

    But then there is the question of the non-existent production facilities for the (oval) CFRP fuselage. So my guess is that (with the 787 experience) they will play it slow and go for a geared engine.

    • For RR it would be more a “back to the roots” as the TRENT family has its origins in the RB211, powering the 757… 😉

      • Well, that would be more than a decade after the RB211s somewhat unlucky wedding with the TriStar. A couple years late it earned more merits with the 747-200 and only the third application was the 757. A bit oversized for it, but that only added to the charm of the 757 I guess.

  4. The interesting thing will be when Boeing’s best engines guys are asked, taking everything into account, where they see the most potential for the next 20 years, on a LEAP development, a advanced RR engine or the the PW geared fan family.

    And then they somehow give the wrong answer, and everybody heard it..

    Slamming doors at finance, angry phone calls, moving goals posts, adjusting guidelines, serious F2F’s with the guys involved.. The complete circus to get out the right answer.

    • I would think the engine guys will favor the UltraFan, not the Advance, or do you think the GTF?

    • Hi Keesje, help me out if I talk nonsense.

      As far as I can make out the Advance3 core will give improvement X (they claim 20%) and be ready by 2021/2 while the Ultrafan around 2025 with an additional 5%.

      Assuming this the Advance3 core based engine seems to be the lower risk and a sensible option. The UF is higher risk and could have aerodynamic penalties due to fan size, etc.

      • That’s 20% against the Trent 700. But it’s only 10% against the Trent 7000. And then that’s their goal. So indeed it’s possible that IF the Advance is really so much more efficient than the 7000 it’s a candidate for the 797. But it’s also possible that RR finds in their flight test that the gain is quite a bit smaller and they would need to go to the UltraFan to make the step change Boeing requests.

        The Ultrafan will not have more drag, given the same fan size, but has the additional benefit of being shorter and lighter, due to much less stages.

        The Advance would include less risk, yes, and be available sooner too…

        • Thanks Gundolf, the Advance3/UF always confused me. Starting to catch-up.

        • The UltraFan will have a 4:1 gear reduction ratio (i.e. 3:1 on the PW-1100G); overall pressure ratio exceeding 70:1 (i.e. 60:1 on the GE9X); bypass ratio of 15:1 (i.e. 12:1 on the PW-1100G).

          According to RR, a 70,000 lbs of thrust UltraFan engine would have a 140-inch wide fan. Hence, a 35,000 lbs of thrust UltraFan engine would have a fan diameter of about 99 inches; or 18 inches wider than the fan on the current PW-1100G (A32Xneo).

          • Thanks, what type of landing gear will you need? Looks like an over wing for me?

    • You are one of manifest morbid jealousy. It just makes you sick that Boeing innovation but not Airbus

      In the blogosphere you are often slapped 😉

      • @checklist

        It just makes you sick that Boeing innovation but not Airbus

        Would you care to elaborate?

      • @checklist

        In the blogosphere you are often slapped

        Would that be in the verovenia blog?

        You know, the last holdout for doctrinaire Boeing cheerleaders who really, really dislike Airbus.

        • OV-099

          Please do not try to change the roles. Keesje is the most popular troll in the blogosphere.

          We have no more problem with Airbus than Keesje and you have a problem with Boeing.

          The proof is (since 2014) NMA will never work To you.
          “Boeing goes wrong and Boeing goes wrong”..
          And even outside NMA!

          Keesje’s arguments have always been false and ridiculous that have been opposed by the members of!

          It is his stupidity and bias that is blamed. Not his ideas!

          But today in 2018, NMA is close to launch. You even know it, including Keesje, but your trolls will not change anything.

          It’s only sickly jealousy that you come screaming into the blogosphere.

          When NMA is launched you will die as a result of your sickly jealousy.

          And that’s just because you chose the wrong camp

          It will not be our fault …
          So do not blame, do not blame me.

          Thanks 👍

          • @checklist, @keesje, others: Knock off the personalized back-and-forth. It’s a violation of our Reader Comment Rules. Violators have been suspended from commenting in the past. I won’t hesitate to suspend you.

            Stick to the issues.


        • I was just saying that Keesje was biased.
          His arguments was simply have been refuted throughout the blogosphere.

          In short, an Airbus fan boy …

          I’m no more aggressive than him that he wants to make appear


      • I fully agree. I did not do any personalized back-and-forth, Although checklist seems crazy aggressive again.

        • Dammit, Keesje, your second sentence just violated Reader Comment despite admonition. Stop it. The next violation will result in suspension to comments for two weeks.

  5. A new single aisle engine must be first price for all engine manufacturers in 10-15 years from now.

  6. I’m really curious why it’s not a downsized, 2nd gen Genx derivative. First off, this 767 replacement is a twin aisle. Twin aisles have historically been GE’s turbine bailiwick. From a capacity standpoint, it also looks like CFM has more than it can “say grace over”! Isn’t it time (presumably on wing in 2023) for a second gen Genx? Won’t the 78 also need a second gen Genx in pretty near the 2023-2025 timeframe? Isn’t it easier, in the long run, to downsize the Genx’s architecture, both to leave extra power for the 797, ( ala the PWs and RRs on the 757), and to allow for growth—a 797-200? As an aside, good luck to GE on the turboprop. The PT6 has been near absolutely “bulletproof”. I track a PT6 driven Pilatus PC12 being run on medical evac missions all hours of the day and night over the very mountainous northern Rockies! And, wow, wikipedia shows 1,500 PC12s running around on their single PT6s!

    • Great article Scott, I enjoyed the details here and in the subscription article.

      @MontanaOsprey, I don’t think starting with the GENx is a great idea. First of all its a 13k dry weight engine with nearly twice the power than they will need on the 797. The Leap makes more sense from a weight/thrust perspective.

      I am sure there are some at Boeing that are not enjoying their engine options with all of the drama that is going on with the GTF/Trent etc. Single sourcing with GE while the GE9X still needs work would be a lot of eggs in one shaky basket. Safran brings a little stability but Boeing can’t be completely happy hearing that this isn’t going to be a clean sheet engine. But then again, everything is a negotiation.


  7. Comments are closed thanks to Keesje and Checklist.