CFM International, the General Electric and Safran joint venture, is eyeing another bumper year of engine orders but, at the same time, is working hard to catch up on its delayed production plan and tackling a shroud coating loss issue affecting some Leap-1A powered Airbus A320neos.

The company, which has taken orders for almost 3,000 CFM56 and Leap engines so far this year, is accelerating production and building 20 Leap engines per week as part of efforts to meet delivery commitments to Airbus and Boeing. These have been slowed by parts yield issues and, in the case of the Leap-1B for the 737 MAX, disrupted by inspections following the discovery earlier this year of cracks in a batch of low-pressure turbine discs.

Although CFM conducted extensive early ‘run-at-rate’ practice production runs of the Leap engine ahead of the planned ramp-up, these did not expose the issues as expected says CFM executive vice president Allen Paxson. “We didn’t fully contemplate the yield variation, but we are now working through this at GE and Safran shops as well as throughout our supply base.”

Paxson adds that “towards the end of the year we will be back on plan with both airframers and should have closed that gap.”

On the eve of the Dubai Airshow almost 100 Leap-1A powered A320neos were in service with 16 operators while Boeing had delivered 37 Leap-1B powered 737-8s to nine operators.

“We expect 225 aircraft to be delivered by year end with 46 operators,” says CFM executive vice president Francois Bastin. “We are well on track to deliver between 450 and 500 engines by the end of the year and in five years we will have more Leaps in the fleet than it took with the CFM56 over 30 years.” The fleet is expected to reach one million flight hours in the first quarter of 2018, a tally that the CFM56 took “years” to reach, he adds.