The CFM Leadership was in Delhi recently, holding their first press conference, on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the LEAP Engine. Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Aviation, speaks to President & CEO, reports Neetu Dhulia.
“India is a growth market and a very successful one. Global fleet will double in next 20 years, making India a strategic market for the world” said Gaël Méheust, President & CEO, CFM. CFM International is a 50:50 partnership with Safran Aircraft Engines & GE. The partnership, going strong for last 40 years, has been further sealed for another 22 years, till 2040.
CFM56 successor, LEAP programme was launched in 2008 to power the new generation of single-aisle aircraft. Leap has gained the confidence of the major airlines, it is currently working with Airbus to power the A320neo, Boeing for the B737 MAX and Comac for the C919. By the end of August this year (2018), Leap reported a soaring order book of 16,300+ engines and a confidence of 72+ operators in 5 continents. The engine has been in service for 2 million flight hours.
‘Future is with the leap in India, running a market share of 64 per cent. It is an effective engine, which an airline can fly each day’
Supporting the Indian aviation industry growth, CFM plans to deliver 1,000 engines in the country in the coming years. These numbers are a strong testimony to the commitment by the CFM team. Leap, steadily stands on three stable pillars of committed to “Performance, best in class asset utilisation and life cycle maintenance cost”, which helps them provide efficient engines that an airline can fly each day. “Our engines are available 350 days in a year, that is a high 96 per cent availability. Future is with the leap in India, running a market share of 64 per cent. It is an effective engine, which an airline can fly each day”, added Meheust.
In India, Leap customers are on A320neo and B737 Max aircraft. Currently four airlines in India, run on Leap engines, Air India A320neo with 21 aircraft, Vistara A320neo with 9, Jet Airways 737 MAX with 5 and SpiceJet 737 MAX operating 1, as of September 2018.
CFM further supports the airliners with a training center in Hyderabad, inaugurated in 2010. This facility is dedicated to CFM56 and LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B. The center provides advanced hands-on courses in line maintenance and borescope inspection for CFM56-7B and CFM56-5B engines. 500 engineers are trained at this center annually.
Jayant Baranwal (Jayant): What is the most important factor of celebration as far as Leap’s 10 years are concerned?
Gaël Méheust (Gaël): I have so many things that come to my mind when I think of what are we celebrating after 10 years of the Leap? The first one is that I can say is that we are meeting the performance. We started working and developing the Leap engines, some 20 years back. There was a lot of money that was invested and there has been a lot of effort with our heart and soul added to it. We realised it during the flight test programme only, that we will meet the performance. That has been the first key parameter. There was absolutely no realisation from the first sales that we will achieve such a success within 7-8 years of the production.
“Three strong pillar of CFM – Performance, best in class asset utilization and life cycle maintenance cost”
For us, the realisation of success was very important.
Jayant: For leap, you have signed a sizable deal at the Farnborough Airshow. What are the key features of the SpiceJet deal?
Gaël: The deal is beyond just the sale of the engines and sale of a spare engine to support the fleet. It is a comprehensive package, we have entered a deal, extending the local and global support, customer support, online support and service by the hour support agreement, whereby we provide the all-inclusive service for a long-term period. We provide full onestop service so that the customer can concentrate on their operations and on their core competence and we concentrate on what we are good at. In short, it’s a combined agreement, we provide them with a complete service for a long-term period.
Jayant: Is it related to the MRO as well?
Gaël: That’s correct, it is related to the MRO, we provide the support services and the maintenance and overhaul to the engines. According to the agreed plan with the airline, we together, try to predict the behavior of the engine while during the flight, and define what kind of maintenance is required and at what point of time and that is covered into the power by the hour contract. It is a time and material agreement.