Vietjet, a recently established budget airline serving Southeast Asia, ordered over 200 LEAP-1B turbofan jet engines from CFM International, an order worth more than $3 billion according to the engine builder. The engines will power the 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft the Vietjet ordered recently, an $11.3-billion contract described at that time as “the largest-ever single commercial airplane purchase in Vietnam.”
The contractor noted the engines would be delivered between 2019 and 2023.
The 737 MAX is the fourth update in 50 years to Boeing’s 737 series aircraft. The twin-engine jets promising greater fuel-efficiency (due in part to the selection of LEAP-1B engines as the exclusive power source), plus redesigned wing structures for improved aerodynamics performance.
The LEAP-1B is one of three variants for a new family of high-bypass turbofan engines developed by CFM International, a joint venture co-owned by GE Aviation and Snecma, the French aircraft and aerospace group. Each partner manufactures the engines at its own production plants, supplying them to Boeing (the LEAP-1B, for the new 737 MAX) and Airbus (the LEAP-1A, for the A320neo), and in future to the Commercial Aircraft Co. of China (the LEAP-1C, for the planned C919 narrow-body jet.) To date, CFM has recorded more than 10,500 orders for the LEAP series engines, as airlines plan new and replacement fleets.
The current fleet of 35 Vietjet A320s and A321s includes several powered by CFM56 engines. “It has been a real privilege to work with Vietjet with the CFM56 fleet and we are excited to bring the value of the LEAP engine to their operations,” stated CFM president and CEO Jean-Paul Ebanga. “In a very short time, the team has established it as the fastest-growing airline in the region, and we believe they are just getting started. We are honored to be part of this dynamic team and look forward to a very long relationship together.”
Vietjet serves 50 destinations within Vietnam and to cities in Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Myanmar, and Malaysia. It is planning to expand its network across the region, and also has ordered nearly 200 new aircraft of the Airbus A320 family. Pratt & Whitney was selected by Vietjet to supply its PurePower Geared Turbofan™ engine for 63 Airbus A320neo and A321neo jets, beginning in 2017.