GE Aviation is now focused on getting both old and several new products out the door on time and at ever-increasing production rates, after spending a decade spent cultivating a formidable backlog,
“We are just seeing good growth, record deliveries on commercial engines,” says GE Aviation chief executive David Joyce.
Since 2010, the company has recorded a 6% compound annual growth rate on deliveries of engines that are already in production, Joyce says.
GE has booked deliveries for 5,000 CFM56 and 700 GE90s engines. The CF34 for regional jets has accumulated orders for 435 engines this year alone, Joyce says. The manufacturer is building 100-125 GEnx engines each year for the Boeing 787 and 747-8 programmes.
There are even more engines booked for aircraft that have yet to enter service. The CFM International Leap engine powering three different families of narrowbody aircraft has attracted orders for 3,400 aircraft, with another 900 covered by options. Meanwhile, six customers have ordered a total of 600 GE9X engines to power the 300 Boeing 777X aircraft on firm order.
“You can imagine the challenges that come with that,” Joyce says.
GE has opened 1.25 million square metres of factory space over the last five years to handle increasing production rates and transitions to new products, Joyce says.
“We have to make sure we deliver,” he adds.
GE’s strategy also involves inserting time-saving production techniques, such as additive manufacturing. The engine maker has acquired Cincinnati-based Morris Technologies, which has been work developing the technology for more than 20 years.
“We’re not waving a magic wand and this stuff is appearing out of nowhere. This is an innovation that’s 20 years in the making,” Joyce says.
GE also has grown by acquiring major partners, such as Italy-based Avio. The acquisition initially spread concerns among competitors, as Avio is a major supplier to Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce on transmissions and low-pressure turbine modules. But Avio has not lost any business since entering GE’s portfolio, Joyce says.
“We really do have the respect of the industry about being an industry partner to [competing suppliers],” Joyce adds.