In December 1985, Air China Southwest and China Eastern Yunnan, took delivery of their first Boeing 737aircraft. These airplanes were powered by CFM International’s CFM56-3 engines. CFM was a very new company and these were among some of its first orders.
„We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the region for the great success that CFM has achieved. Those two airlines were willing to work with us in the early days and that confidence laid a foundation for one of the strongest collaborative efforts in aviation” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International. „Since then, the relationship between CFM and the Chinese aviation industry has only deepened over time. We think this is only the beginning.”
In the past 30 years, Greater China has grown to become one of the largest and most important customer bases for CFM in the world, with more than 50 airlines ordering more than 3,900 CFM56 and LEAP engines to power Airbus, Boeing, and COMAC aircraft.
The in-service fleet has logged more than 67.5 million flight hours and 37.5 million flight cycles while maintaining some of the best reliability statistics in the industry.
The region has also become a critical supplier base for CFM’s parent companies, GE and Snecma. These two companies purchase hundreds of millions of dollars in engine parts for the CFM56 product line from Chinese manufacturers annually. The quality of these parts has been key to the ongoing success of the CFM product line worldwide.
CFM has been heavily invested in the continued growth of the Chinese aviation industry, as well.
In 1996, the company opened the Aero Engine Maintenance Training Center (AEMTC), located in the Civil Aviation Flight College, Guanghan City. The training provided at the Center – a state-of-the-art 4,500 square meter facility with six engine shop bays and five classrooms – is equivalent to the training provided at the CFM centers in the United States, France, and India.
Since then, the company has opened its Fleet Support Center in Shanghai, providing technical support to Chinese customers, in addition to an AOG (Aircraft on the Ground) spare parts center in Zhuhai.
In 2010, CFM and Air China received Chinese government approval for the formation of Sichuan Services Aero Engines Maintenance Company (SSAMC), a 60/40 joint venture between Air China and CFM, located in Chengdu, China. SSAMC combines Air China’s extensive expertise with that of CFM to create a truly world-class maintenance facility. The facility completes 60 to 80 engine overhauls annually.
In late 2009, the relationship between CFM and China was taken to a new level when the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) selected CFM’s advanced LEAP-1C engine as the sole Western powerplant for the new C919 single-aircraft.
CFM delivered the first two LEAP-1C engines for the C919 aircraft in the third quarter of 2015 in preparation for airplane roll out later this year and first flight.
The LEAP-1C engine incorporates a unique, industry-first fully integrated propulsion system (IPS). CFM provides the engine as well as the nacelle and thrust reverser developed by Nexcelle*. These elements, including the pylon provided by COMAC, were designed in conjunction with each other, resulting in a total system that provides improved aerodynamics, lower weight, and easier maintenance.
* Nexcelle is a joint venture between Aircelle (Safran) and GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS)
Source / Author: CFM / Safran
Photo: CFM / Safran