PARIS AIR SHOW: CFM sees slow recovery in engine sales

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Orders for CFM56 engines will drop spectacularly to 600 units this year from the peak of more than 2,500 orders in 2007, says CFM International president Eric Bachelet, but so far the GE/Snecma joint venture has suffered just four cancellations. "Most of the cancellations have been on long-haul aircraft, with very few on single-aisle aircraft," he says.

The engine maker will produce 1,250 CFM56s in 2009, about the same number as in the past two years. "We are confident about 2009. [CFM56 deliveries] are pretty much locked in and we don't expect big surprises," says Bachelet. "We are relatively confident of deliveries in early 2010 but beyond mid-2010 we have less visibility."

However, Bachelet is cautious about the prospects for industry recovery in the short term, noting that "the general picture from the airlines is relatively grim".

Orders for spare parts, a major money-spinner for engine makers, which normally grow steadily, have been running at 2008 levels, reflecting lower aircraft usage. "We don't see an improvement anytime soon," says Bachelet.

CFM has a backlog of 5,850 engines and will deliver its 20,000th CFM56 in October. A total of 25,450 CFM56s had been ordered up until the end of May.