CFM is at Paris in belligerent mood as it seeks to put the record straight about the performance of its new Leap engine. "We want to dispel some myths and propaganda about our engine," said Chaker Chahrour, executive vice-president of the Franco-US joint venture, speaking at a pre-Paris briefing on Saturday.

Executives from CFM believe the show could be its biggest ever in order terms and that by the weekend it will have overtaken rival Pratt & Whitney's GTF geared turbofan engine in order numbers. "We are doing much better than our competitor," said Chahrour at the briefing, with press spokesman Jamie Jewell adding "you just don't know it yet". CFM said it has four order announcements planned every day up to Thursday with "more coming in". These will be a mixture of Leap and CFM56 orders.

Stung by being beaten in the first round of Airbus A320neo campaigns by GTF and by sceptics questioning the performance of its Leap engine, CFM is at pains to stress its huge investment, technological innovation and record of reliable delivery.

Parents GE and Snecma have spent $1-2 billion annually over the past six years on the generic technical advances, such as 3D woven composite fan blades, that have been essential to produce Leap, said Olivier Savin, CFM executive vice-president. "These are big deal technologies that go into Leap-X, we are not just stretching [technology] from previous programmes," said Savin.

"CFM always delivers what is committed," said Savin, highlighting its record of 21 on-time entries into service and five engine upgrades certificated.

Comparing the fuel burn performance of GE or CFM engines against its competitors across a variety of aircraft types, Chahrour said the numbers show his company's engines come out on top. "And we intend to do the same on Leap" in comparison with the GTF, he said, adding that "it will stay on wing as long as today's CFM56" at 20,000h.

CFM arrives at Paris fresh from winning its first A320neo engine order from Virgin America. Replying to questions about losing out on other campaigns to P&W, Chahrour said "you can lose a battle but win the war".

While admitting that having P&W's GTF to contend with means CFM is in "a new phase of competition", chief executive Jean-Paul Ebanga does not want to enter price wars with P&W. "So far we stay pretty well disciplined about that," he said. It is P&W that "have something to prove", he added. "We choose to win them the way we want to win them," said Chahrour.

"At the end of the day this is not a two or a six month game it's a 30-year game," said Ebanga.

Source: Flight Daily News