With the production of the Boeing 737 MAX suspended, the partnership between Safran and General Electric Aviation will likely reduce its output of the LEAP-1B engine.
It was on December 16, 2019, that Boeing announced it was suspending production of the 737 MAX due to the extension of the certification process that has slipped to 2020.
The aircraft manufacturer said the production halt would not affect its own workforce, who’d be re-deployed to other facilities. But the announcement will have a significant impact on suppliers and subcontractors involved in the MAX programme, including CFM International, the joint venture that produces the LEAP-1B that powers the airliner.
Currently, the two partners are evaluating the situation, a spokesperson from Safran told the media.
Philippe Petitcolin, the CEO of the French manufacturer said it intends to keep the LEAP production line open, in order to maintain its industrial capabilities, but could reduce it by up to 65%. He stated: “I think we should keep a rate of at least 15 planes per month, or 30 engines per month [against 84 engines today]. It will be easier to ramp up when you have a production flow rather than start from scratch.”
The extent of the reduced production rate should be decided by Safran and GE before the end of the week.
The Boeing MAX series is exclusively powered by the LEAP-1B engine. The engine also powers the A320neo series and is expected to be the engine of choice for the COMAC C919 once this Chinese airliner enters service.