Airbus and Boeing have asked GE Aviation to produce an additional 800 engines over a three-year period beginning in 2018, the powerplant manufacturer's chief executive David Joyce has disclosed.
The request comes on top of 6,000 CFM56 and Leap-1 engines already planned for production in the CFM International's factories in France and the USA, as GE works to deliver from a historic backlog of 15,000 engines across single-aisle and twin-aisle fleets.
Despite undertaking a rapid production ramp-up, the joint venture has the capacity to meet the Airbus and Boeing demand for the additional 800 engines, Joyce confirms.
"We feel pretty good about it, to be honest with you," he says. "Certainly, the transition [from the CFM56 to the Leap engine family] is quick. But we feel really comfortable with the rate."
The request was driven by increasing overall demand in the commercial aircraft market and for CFM engines in particular, he notes.
Asked if the request for additional production represents a signal that Airbus or Boeing could raise production rates beyond planned increased, Joyce argued that his disclosure shouldn't be viewed in that light.
CFM is on track to produce 500 Leap engines this year, then jump to 1,200 Leap deliveries in 2018, 1,900 in 2019, and 2,100 in 2020.
The ramp-up this year was marred briefly by the discovery last month that a supplier had a quality problem with forgings for low-pressure turbine discs in Leap-1B engines for the 737 Max. The finding led GE to move to sequester 30 Leap-1B engines to replace the suspect forgings.
Despite the issue, CFM's production system remains on track, as the joint venture reassigned the work to two other suppliers of the same component.