Commercial engine manufacturers can look back on an exciting Paris Air Show, earning some good money. Where the airframers agreed on deals that in most cases need further negotiating, the engine OEM’s received orders sometimes placed with airframers a couple of years ago.
CFM International, the General Electric/Safran joint-venture, booked orders worth $50.2 billion. At last year’s Farnborough Air Show the counter stopped at 15.7 billion.
On the opening day of the show on Monday CFM received a most important order from IndiGo, buying 560 LEAP-1A’s to power 280 Airbus A320neo and A321neo’s worth $20 billion. The deal is significant in that until now IndiGo has been operating its neo-fleet with Pratt & Whitney’s PW-1100Gs… and has experienced all the troubles the new-technology geared turbofan has had since 2016. IndiGo has been hit hard by the GTF issues that led to the Indian authorities temporarily grounding A320neo’s after they suffered a number of inflight shutdowns.
Like Air New Zealand had done with its latest Boeing 787-order, IndiGo has opted to de-risk its operations by selecting CFM as the alternative engine supplier.
IndiGo’s order was a new record for CFM – until AirAsia went shopping on Wednesday. The Asian low-cost airline bought 200 LEAP 1A’s to power 100 A321neo’s ordered in 2016 at the Farnborough Air Show. Including a Rate-Per-Flight-Hour agreement, the deal is worth $23.1 billion.
CFM also received orders from lessors, with Avolon’s deal worth $2.06 billion for 140 engines to power 70 A320neo’s and CDB Aviation buying 90 LEAPs worth $1.3 billion for 45 A320neo-family aircraft, making it an all-LEAP operator. Kuwaiti lessor ALAFCO signed a firm agreement for 60 engines to power 30 A320neo’s plus 20 options.
SMBC Capital ordered 40 LEAP 1A-engines, as did Macquarie Finance. Japan’s Peach Aviation ordered 20 -1A’s for its A320neo’s ordered back in 2016.
CFM signed other Rate-Per-Flight-Hour deals with China’s Zhejiang Loong Air worth $800 million and Colorful Guizhou Airlines worth $500 million.
“It has been an absolutely incredible week”, said CFM’s Gael Meheust. “We have had follow-on orders from long-time customers while welcoming new LEAP operators, including IndiGo for the LEAP-1A and the recently announced letter of intent from IAG for 200 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes for which we look forward to finalizing the LEAP-1B engine portion of the deal.” No firm -1B orders were announced in Paris.
Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney announced a number of agreements too but didn’t specify the total value by the end of the show.
On Monday VivaAerobus purchased GTFs to power 41 Airbus A320neo’s, with SMBC Capital ordering 20 and Aviation Capital Group 10 firm plus 10 options.
On Tuesday an undisclosed airline signed a deal to power 28 A320neo’s, including a service agreement. That same day an undisclosed lessor signed an MoU for engines for 35 neo’s plus five options to be operated in China. In a deal with two airlines and a lessor announced separately, P&W sold engines for 74 A320neo’s also to be operated in China.
South America’s JetSmart confirmed an order to power 85 A320neo’s with GTFs, while Middle East Airlines selected the PW-1100G for its four Airbus A321XLR’s.
Besides the commercial announcements, Pratt & Whitney revealed it will expand its West Palm Beach maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities for the GTF, investing $45 million until the end of next year. The site was used for GTF production but has switched to MRO duties since last year.
Apart from sharing and benefitting from the massive CFM order intake, General Electric had no commercial engine announcements to make in Paris. Its attraction was a model of the GE9X that currently has been doing first ground runs on the new Boeing 777X but will have to wait for its maiden flight until this fall after a redesigned vane has passed all tests and paperwork.
Announcements from Rolls-Royce included the deal by Virgin Atlantic for 14 Airbus A330-900s as well as that from Cebu Pacific for 16 A330-900s, both to be powered by Trent 7000s. The engine was on show on Air Asia’s first A330-900.
Probably more important was the announcement on Tuesday that Rolls-Royce will acquire the hybrid and full-electric aviation eAircraft division from Siemens, the German partner with whom it has bee working together with Airbus on the E-Fan X demonstrator project. Rolls didn’t disclose the value of the deal that should be completed this year but stressed the strategic importance. As Rob Watson, director Rolls-Royce Electric said: “We have already made significant strides in realizing our strategy of ‘championing electrification’ and this move will accelerate our ambitions in aerospace by adding vital skills and technology to our portfolio. It brings us increased scale and additional expertise as we develop a product range of hybrid power and propulsion systems.””