Snecma president Jean Paul Béchat has played down the chances of consolidation among Europe's aero-engine companies this year, cautioning: "It may seem an interesting possibility, but I can assure everyone there is nothing going on."

The French manufacturer is gearing up for a tough year for the civil and defence businesses, with Béchat warning that "sales of aircraft of more than 100 seats are entering a downward trend and we are in a period of low military business".

State-owned Snecma's 1999 sales grew by 2% to Fr32 billion ($5 billion), partly on the back of record Airbus Industrie production, while the CFM International partnership with General Electric delivered its 10,000th CFM56. Military sales fell by 4%, however, and account for 16% of overall business. A tranche of M53 engine deliveries for the Mirage 2000 has ended, while those of theM88 for the Rafale fighter are just building up.

Béchat says Snecma participation in the Pratt &Whitney/General Electric GPW7000 engine for the planned Airbus A3XX is a possibility.

Source: Flight International