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Virgin Blue orders CFM56-7BE engines for new 737s

Australia's Virgin Blue has ordered the CFM International CFM56-7BE engine as part of last week's deal for 50 Boeing 737 aircraft.

The purchase of 50 CFM56-7BE powerplants is valued at $700 million at list prices, says CFM. The CFM56-7BE engine enhancement programme was launched in April 2009 to coincide with the Boeing 737 Next Generation airframe improvements

This engine-airframe combination provides a 2% improvement in fuel consumption that leads to a 2% reduction in carbon emissions, says CFM. In addition, depending on the thrust rating, the enhanced -7B provides up to 4% lower maintenance costs, it adds.

"CFM is using advanced computer codes and three-dimensional design techniques to improve airfoils in the high- and low-pressure turbines to improve engine performance. In addition, CFM is improving engine durability and reducing parts count to achieve lower maintenance costs," says the 50-50 joint venture between Snecma and GE Aviation.

Virgin Blue has options another 25 aircraft and has secured 30 future purchase rights, in additional to the firm order for 50 737s. Deliveries will begin in mid-2011.

The airline, which has a fleet of 83 aircraft, has been a CFM customer since its launch in August 2000.

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