American Airlines Chooses CFM International LEAP-1A Engine In 100 Airbus A320neo Aircraft

LEAP-1A
CFM International’s LEAP-1A is put through its paces at GE’s outdoor test facility in Peebles, Ohio. CFM International

American Airlines Group Inc. has picked CFM International’s LEAP-1A engine to power its new fleet of 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft, the 50-50 joint venture of the General Electric Co. and Safran SA announced Sunday. CFM pegged the value of the engine order at $2.6 billion. (Neo is an acronym for “new engine option.”)

The American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) aircraft order with the privately held Airbus SAS was first divulged in 2011, and the airline will begin taking delivery of its A320neo fleet in 2017.

According to Airbus, A320neo owners can select either of two engines for their aircraft: the LEAP-1A made by CFM International or the PurePower PW1100G-JM made by the Pratt & Whitney unit of the United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

The first full LEAP-1A engine began ground testing last September, launching what CFM International characterized as the most extensive ground and flight test certification program in the history of the JV founded in 1974.

The total program, encompassing all three LEAP engine variants, includes 28 ground and CFM flight test engines, as well as 32 flight test engines for Airbus, the Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) and the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd.

During the next three years, these engines will accumulate about 40,000 engine cycles before entering service. By that time, CFM will have simulated more than 15 years of airline service with 60 different engine builds.

The American General Electric (NYSE:GE) and the French Safran (EPA:SAF) formed their CFM International JV 40 years ago. Thanks to the American Airlines and other orders, the company believes it will follow a record-setting 2013 with a record-setting 2014, the firm said Sunday.

Last year, it booked orders for 2,723 engines valued at more than $31 billion. This year, it already has logged orders for 2,071 engines valued at about $25 billion.

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