CFM International more than doubled the number of Leap engines it delivered in 2018, handing over 1,118 of the engines and coming closer to recovering from a supply chain slowdown.
The company, co-owned by General Electric and Safran Aircraft Engines, is "on track to deliver" at least 1,800 Leap engines this year and more than 2,000 annually by 2020, it says. It expects the Leap programme to break even in 2021.
"We're still behind on deliveries by about four weeks, but the business expects to be back on schedule by mid-2019," GE chief financial officer Jamie Miller says of Leap engine deliveries during GE's 2018 earnings call on 31 January.
In addition to the 1,118 Leap deliveries in 2018, CFM delivered 1,044 CFM56 engines for 2,162 total engine deliveries, up 14% year-on-year. By comparison, CFM delivered 1,444 CFM56 and 459 Leaps in 2017.
In the fourth quarter alone, CFM delivered 379 Leap engines, up from 202 in the fourth quarter of 2017, GE Aviation says.
CFM continues to build its backlog, logging orders for 3,337 engines in 2018, including 126 CFM56 and 3,211 Leaps. The company now holds 17,275 orders and commitments for Leaps, which power Airbus A320neo family aircraft, Boeing 737 Max and Comac C919s.
"2018 LEAP engine orders were near a record high,” CFM chief executive Gael Meheust says in a media release. “We had some challenges on the production front, but in the end we were able to deliver what we promised."
CFM has struggled to ramp up engine deliveries to meet increasing 737 and A320neo-family aircraft production rates. In recent days, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said his company is sending staff to CFM facilities to help the engine maker recover.
"As the ramp-up continues over the next couple of years, we will certainly work closely with Airbus and Boeing to keep disruptions to a minimum,” CFM's Meheust adds.
As Leap production has ramped up, production costs have declined.
"Over the last two years, we've taken out more than 40% of the cost of the engine," says GE's Miller. "The overall program will break even around 2021."
He notes that 58% of A320neo family aircraft customers have chosen Leap engines. The Leap is the only engine offered on Boeing's 737 Max.