CFM International’s engines for the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max families should be cleared to operate up to 3h from an available runway by the end of the month, the GE-Snecma joint venture has disclosed.

The US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency are expected to approve extended operations (ETOPS) up to 180min for the A320neo's Leap-1A and the 737 Max's Leap-1B engines within the next two weeks, Francois Bastin, executive vice-president and general manager for CFM programme, said on 16 June.

Pratt & Whitney recently gained 180min ETOPS approval from EASA for PW1100G geared turbofans compliant with a recent service bulletin. Approval from the FAA is still awaited. The PW1100G is another engine option for the A320neo family.

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After clearing engine ETOPS approvals, the regulatory agencies still have to approve the standard at the aircraft level.

Obtaining the 180min-standard for ETOPS comes after a gruelling gauntlet of testing. The FAA and EASA require the engine makers to intentionally unbalance the turbine, Bastin explains. The engine is then run continuously for two months, recording 3,000 cycles of take-offs, cruise flight and landings as the engine "shakes like hell" due to the internal imbalance, he says. The engine is then torn down and all 4,000-5,000 parts are inspected.

Meanwhile, CFM says it remains on track to deliver 500 Leap engines in 2017 to support the A320neo and 737 Max production programmes, as well as the Comac C919, which remains in flight test. CFM fell behind on deliveries early this year, but has mostly caught up with demand, coming within a "handful" of deliveries from meeting Airbus's target rate for the A320neo.

The third paragraph has been updated to acknowledge that EASA has certificated the PW1100G for ETOPS

Source: Cirium Dashboard