United Continental Holdings orders LEAP-1B-powered 737 MAX aircraft; expands CFM56-7B fleet

United Continental Holdings, parent company of United Airlines, today announced a firm order for 100 advanced LEAP-1B-powered Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.  At the same time, the airline ordered 50 additional CFM56-7B-powered Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER aircraft.  The combined value of the engine order, along with a long-term service agreement, is approximately $5.0 billion U.S. at list price.

United signed a Rate per Flight Hour (RPFH) agreement with CFM International (CFM) to support all 200 LEAP-1B engines the airline ordered to power its new Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.  Under the terms of the comprehensive 12-year service and support agreement, CFM will guarantee engine maintenance costs on a dollar per engine flight hour basis.

United is a long-time CFM customer and operates a fleet of more than  225 CFM56-powered Boeing 737 Classic and Next-Generation aircraft.

“We are thrilled that United Airlines has entrusted its future single-aisle fleet to the new LEAP engine,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of CFM parent company GE Aviation.  “This order brings the third generation of CFM-powered 737s to the United fleet and launches an exciting new era in our long relationship.”

The LEAP-1B, which is the result of an exhaustive six-year collaboration effort with Boeing, is the exclusive powerplant for the new 737 variant, with the engine uniquely optimized for the airplane.   The 737 MAX continues a 30-year relationship between CFM and Boeing; CFM engines have been the sole powerplant for all 737 aircraft sold since 1981.

LEAP engines incorporate revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment.  The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology.

As a result, operators of the 737 MAX will achieve up to 13 percent lower fuel burn compared to today’s best CFM56-powered 737; an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions; a 50 percent reduction in NOx emissions versus current ICAO CAEP/6 requirements; a 75 percent reduction in the aircraft noise footprint; all while maintaining the benefits of CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs.

The LEAP and CFM56 engine families are products of CFM International a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE.

Source: GE Aviation
Date: Jul 12, 2012