India’s third-largest airline, SpiceJet, placed a $12.5-billion order with CFM International that finalizes the purchase of LEAP-1B engines to power 155 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including spare engines. The airline also agreed to a 10-year, Rate per Flight Hour (RPFH) agreement with CFM Services that covers all LEAP-1B engines powering SpiceJet’s 737 MAX airplanes. Under the RPFH agreement, CFM will guarantee maintenance costs for all the airline’s LEAP-1B engines on a pay-by-the-hour basis.
SpiceJet currently operates 38 Boeing Next Generation 737 aircraft powered by CFM56-7B engines, the design predecessor of the LEAP engine series.
The LEAP-1B is one of a series of high-bypass turbofan engines developed by CFM International, and produced by GE Aviation and Safran, the joint-venture partners that own CFM.
The 737 MAX is the current version of Boeing’s narrow-body 737 aircraft, available in four lengths (737 MAX 7, 8, 9, 10), usually seating 138 to 230 passengers.
In 2017, Boeing Commercial Airplanes announced an order from SpiceJet for up to 205 new aircraft, including 100 737 MAX 8 jets.
“We are looking forward to introducing the new LEAP-1B into our fleet,” said Ajay Singh, SpiceJet chairman and managing director. “The CFM56 engines we currently operate have been a highly valued asset for us over the years. From what we have seen so far, the LEAP-1B is living up to its promises for efficiency and reliability.”
CFM International recently undertook a $15-million expansion of its CFM Training Center in Hyderabad, India, to include training for both LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B engines. The LEAP-1A entered service in India last February, with Air India, which is operating 15 A320neo airplanes, and currently there are more than 600 CFM engines in service in India and Southern Asia, powering Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.
“We built the Hyderabad CFM Training Center to fill a promise we made to our customers more than a decade ago and it has been a big success,” stated Gaël Méheust, president and CEO of CFM International. “To date, the Center has provided world-class line maintenance training for more than 1,300 students from airlines throughout the region.”