CFM International has been celebrating a milestone, having surpassed one billion flying hours milestone with its CFM56 engine.

Describing it as a “mindblowing milestone”, CEO Gaël Méheust said: “We just passed one billion flight hours with the CFM56 engine. It’s sometimes hard to understand what one billion flight hours is, but if you convert it into years it represents 15 thousand years, so it is a huge milestone we are celebrating. We are thanking our customers because they are the ones who flew our engines carrying 35 billion people – which is five times the population of earth.”

Méheust described the current business position at CFM International as ‘very strong’ with 15 thousand engines ordered since the beginning of the programme, representing a production backlog of seven years.

LEAP achieves 96 per cent utilisation ratio

CFM manufactures LEAP 1a and 1b engines for Airbus and Boeing. Méheust explained: “The engines were designed to be 15 per cent better in fuel efficiency than the CFM56 and with the same utilisation ratio. It was a good surprise we could achieve a better utilisation from the LEAP than the CFM56. LEAP can be used 350 days out of 365 – which is remarkable for a brand new engine.”

Méheust said the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX, which utilises the LEAP 1b engine, hadn’t affected CFM so far. He expressed his confidence in the aircraft and added: “So far, it hasn’t had an impact on us. We have continued producing the engines at the same stream output as we did before the aircraft was grounded.”

“We are using the time available having these aircraft on the ground to do time sensitive maintenance – we have moved this forward.”

CFM ‘could not be in a better situation right now’

Looking into the future for CFM, Méheust said: “I think CFM could not be in a better situation right now. We have the LEAP with 96 per cent utilisation, 5 million flight hours already on the engine and a backlog of seven years of production. We just need to see the Boeing 737 MAX back in the sky and everything will be perfect.”

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