The seemingly insatiable appetite of the world’s airlines for new aircraft is propelling the airframe and engine market to dizzying new heights in terms of orders and deliveries. The biggest surge in demand is in the single-aisle sector where Airbus and Boeing have between them amassed orders and options for around 7,500 A320neo and 737 MAXs, in addition to more than 3,000 current model A320s and 737s in the firm backlog. As if this isn’t enough, China is developing the CFM Leap-powered C919, while Pratt & Whitney’s competing PW1000G geared turbofan is the exclusive powerplant for Bombardier’s CSeries, Embraer’s new E-Jet series, the Irkut MS-21 and Mitsubishi’s MRJ. CFM International has the lion’s share of the business, with orders for more than 7,500 new Leap engines as part of its 11,000 plus firm backlog, while Pratt’s PW1000G family has netted more than 6,000 orders and commitments. Between them, CFM and Pratt have already won enough business to fill their factories until the mid-2020s, even if they don’t take a single new order this decade. But will these new engines live up to their promise?
As CFM prepares to flight-test the first Leap engines in California, and Airbus gets set to make the first flight of the PW1100G-powered A320neo, Executive Editor Jim Mathews discusses with me (Guy Norris, AW&ST Senior Editor for propulsion) the market, the challenges, the risks and some possible directions for the future.
Read our lastest story on Leap: First Leap-1As For A320neo Enter Production