CFM International has secured a position as the second powerplant supplier on the new Airbus A318 after Air France selected the CFM56-5A/B over the Pratt & Whitney PW6000 launch engine.

The French Government is believed to have stepped in with financial assistance to ensure a place on the A318 for the Franco-American engine in which Snecma is joint venture partner. CFMI negotiations with Airbus Industrie had stalled over the issue of underwriting the cost of certifying the CFM56 on the new 100-seater derivative of the A320.

Air France has ordered 15 A318s and has options on 10 aircraft. Despite a strong push by P&W to keep CFMI off the aircraft, Air France opted for the engine to ensure commonality with its large existing fleet of over 80 CFM56-5- powered A319/A320/A321s.

Aside from Air France, the bulk of the 109 orders have been for PW6000-powered A318s, which include launch customers Egyptair, International Lease Finance and TWA. Two other carriers have made loose commitments to order the aircraft. Air China plans to go for the PW6000-powered A318 as a trade-in deal on PW4000-powered Boeing 747s, while Lufthansa is undecided.

Source: Flight International