PARIS – Rival engine makers CFM and Pratt & Whitney (P&W) both announced orders for their respective engines, powering the Airbus A320neo, on Monday at the Paris Air Show (PAS).
CFM announced a $1.7 billion firm deal with China’s Spring Airlines to power 60 A320neo/A321neos, while P&W announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to power 47 of British Airways and Iberia parent International Airlines Group’s (IAG) Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
CFM wins an order from established customers
The Spring Airlines aircraft were purchased in 2015 and are scheduled for delivery between 2019 and 2023. Spring Airlines already uses CFM56 engines on its 70 A320ceo jets. To date, the CFM LEAP-1A engine has been delivered to 14 operators worldwide, logging more than 77,000 engine flight cycles and 145,000 engine flight hours in that time.
“I am so glad to select the LEAP engine for the coming A320neo fleet,” said Wang Zhijie, President of Spring Airlines. “I believe this is a correct selection and hope to get CFM team’s continuous support.“
“Spring Airlines is a great customer,” said Gaël Méheust, president, and CEO of CFM. “It is exciting to launch this next chapter in our relationship with them. The LEAP engine has been performing exceptionally well in commercial, and I am confident that Spring Airlines will find it to be a great asset to support their continued growth and long-term success.”
P&W gets part of IAG’s business
Across subsidiaries Aer Lingus (7), British Airways (35), Iberia (20), and Vueling (47), IAG has 109 A320neo family aircraft on order, so this MoU only accounts for a portion of the order book. Moreover, the airline group currently operates 339 Airbus A320ceo family jets, which means that its replacement needs are far from set.
Because of the makeup of the airline group, IAG could well opt to have different engine suppliers for different carriers within its umbrella without sacrificing too much in the way of cost efficiencies. Still, the order is good news for P&W and its geared turbofan (GTF) engine.
“Pratt & Whitney appreciates IAG’s faith in the GTF engine, which has demonstrated its promised fuel burn savings, emissions, and reduction in noise footprint,” said Chris Calio, president, Commercial Engines. “The PurePower GTF engine is a game-changing, breakthrough technology with more than 200,000 hours of passenger service. There are 67 aircraft with 13 operators flying 250 flights per day to over 100 destinations on four continents.”
Will P&W issues increase CFM’s already dominant engine share
By virtue of being the only supplier for Boeing’s 737 MAX along with its share of A320neo orders, CFM will likely own 60-70% of the market for this generation of narrowbody aircraft.
That likelihood is only enhanced by the launch of the Boeing 737 MAX 10 this morning at PAS, which should help close the MAX’s gap in the so-called middle of the market (MOM) and increase its share moving forward.
The critical question for P&W is whether it can get its execution and costs in check. The pitch by CFM for its LEAP-1A was never that the LEAP could match up with the GTF on paper (the latter is a much more innovative product with more room for in-service improvements).
But CFM’s pitch was that its track record would allow it to deliver a more reliable and less risky product. The initial teething issues of the A320neos with P&W engines potentially helped strengthen that message, so it will be interesting to see if CFM can capitalize.