Orders for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.’s (COMAC) new C919 airplane, powered exclusively by CFM International’s LEAP-1C engines, have now reached a total 165 aircraft with the recent addition of orders from ICBC Financial Leasing Company (45) and from Sichuan Airlines (20).

These airlines join Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, CDB Leasing Company and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) as C919 customers. COMAC has forecasted global sales of more than 2,000 C919 aircraft over the 20 years following entry into service.

In June, CFM and COMAC reached another major milestone with the signing of the Master Contract for the C919 / LEAP Integrated Propulsion System (IPS). The definitive agreement stipulates that CFM will be the sole overseas supplier for an integrated propulsion system (engine, nacelle, thrust reverser) and that the LEAP-X1C engine will be the sole Western powerplant for the new 150-passenger short-to-medium range airplane on schedule to enter service in 2016.

As part of the IPS for the C919, CFM will provide the LEAP-X1C engine and, in partnership with Nexcelle, will provide the nacelle and thrust reverser to deliver a complete IPS solution to COMAC. Nexcelle is a 50/50 joint venture between GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems and Safran group’s Aircelle that the two companies launched in 2008.

The LEAP engine, which was formally launched in 2008, is a totally new centerline engine and the development and testing program has been progressing steadily. The LEAP is on track for the first full engine to begin testing in 2013. In 2010, CFM and COMAC began the Joint Design Phase to define the functional and mechanical interfaces and optimize the integrated propulsion system for the C919. The teams are in the final stages of the Joint Design Phase.

CFM has a dedicated team of about 20 people who work directly with COMAC in Shanghai. Hundreds of engineers are also working on the LEAP-X1C engine back at the headquarters of CFM’s parent companies, GE and Snecma. The team is building strong relationships with COMAC’s team to ensure all the customer’s needs are well understood and achieved.

Beyond the propulsion system program, CFM has also provided extensive training to COMAC for the last two years. Training sessions for COMAC leaders have occurred at Snecma’s Paris location and GE’s Cincinnati, OH facilities. CFM has also conducted training sessions at COMAC’s Shanghai offices and CFM’s training school Aero Engine Maintenance Training Center in Guanghan City, Sichuan Province of China.

LEAP is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE, and the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine manufacturer.

This is a GE Aviation press release