CFM International is celebrating passing a key milestone at the Paris air show, with the fleet of CFM56 engines having just passed the 1 billion flight-hours mark.
It has also just completed delivery of the last commercial CFM56-7B engines as it transitions to the Leap family.
“I know it sounds crazy, but we just passed 1 billion engine flight hours on the CFM56 fleet,” says CFM president and chief executive Gael Meheust. “To figure out what that means I converted it into years – it’s like one engine has been running for 115,000 years.”
The CFM56 entered service on 24 April 1982 on the re-engined McDonnell Douglas DC-8 Super 70 series. The engine has gone on to power new-build and re-engined aircraft including the Boeing 737 Classic and NG, along with the Airbus A320 family and A340s.
It also powers Boeing 707-based E-3/E-6 and KC/RC-135 series military platforms. Around 28,000 CFM56 engines are currently in service with global and military operators.
Meheust says that CFM took 28 years to reach the first half-billion flight hours. “And the second half-billion took only eight years,” he adds.
CFM executive vice-president Allen Paxson says the final CFM56-7B engines were delivered to Boeing for the commercial 737NG programme in May. The last CFM56-5B for the Airbus A320 family is due for delivery in May 2020.
Although the final commercial 737NGs are due for delivery soon, production will continue of the type in low volume for military markets. So CFM expects to continue building the -7B until the mid-2020s, while production of engine spares will remain until at least 2045.
CFM has reached two key CFM56 delivery milestones this year. In early 2019 it delivered the 10,000th CFM56-5 to Airbus, while the 15,000th -7B was shipped to Boeing in April.