CFM International is “staying very humble” as it gears up to achieve 2,000 Leap deliveries a year from 2020 but is confident it has put the infrastructure in place to achieve its target.
Speaking to FlightGlobal on the sidelines of the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Mexico City, CFM chief executive Jean-Paul Ebanga outlined the plan as the engine manufacturer transitions production from the CFM56 to the Leap.
Production of the CFM56 set an industry record of 1,700 engines this year, says Ebanga, and the company will surpass that figure within four years with the Leap. “We started [shipping Leaps] this year and in 2020 we will be at 2,000 engines."
“This is a challenge for two reasons: it is a brand new engine so we need to make sure the entire supply chain is up to speed to deliver all those parts. And we have to do 300 more engines than the record, with an all-new engine.”
Ebanga says that CFM has been preparing for the Leap ramp-up for four years and is “confident we can make it, but it’s a complex machine to build and you just need one part to struggle, so we stay very humble. But so far, so good.”
Meanwhile Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac has recently begun ground runs of the Leap-1C engines installed on the C919 flight-test aircraft as it prepares for first flight. The engine turbomachinery is identical to the Airbus A320neo’s Leap-1A engine and so Ebanga says he “does not expect any big surprises.”