A "significant number" of orders will shortly be announced from customers selecting the CFM International Leap-X1A engine for the Airbus A320neo, according to Safran chief executive Jean-Paul Herteman.

While declining to name names, Herteman said at a pre-show press briefing in Paris that there will be "many more [Leap-X1A orders] in the days and weeks to come".

A source familiar with the situation said that orders for "hundreds" of Leap engines will be announced during the show. CFM International - a joint venture between General Electric and Snecma (a Safran company) - expects to make around 15 order announcements in the coming days, although this will include other models in addition to the Leap.

The Leap-X1A secured its launch customer, Virgin America, on 15 June. It has some catching up to do to match the rival Pratt & Whitney (chalet A344) PW1100G powerplant, which has already been selected by several customers.

"The right time is the right time," said Herteman, adding that "the potential is enormous" and the aftermarket for the engine is also "enormous".

He expects Safran's (hall 2A stand A232, hall 2A stand A118, chalet B125) market share to be up on all of its major programmes going forward, with its share on the Airbus A350 and other new programmes to be "stronger than on previous programmes".

A total of 30,000 CFM56 engines will be delivered by 2020, said Herteman, and spare parts sales will double over the coming decade. More than 22,000 CFM56s had been delivered as of 31 May 2011.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news