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CFM clears the exit delay of the reactor, cautious in case of tariff increase

PHOTO FILE: Gael Meheust, President and CEO of CFM, poses in front of the LEAP-1A engine of an Airbus A321neo at the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport, June 21, 2017 REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) – CFM International has caught up with delays in deliveries of its LEAP engine after maintaining its high-speed assembly lines while the Boeing 737 MAX remains on the ground, the French-American engine manufacturer said on Saturday.

The LEAP engine enabled Boeing and its European rival Airbus to upgrade their largest single-aisle models, which led to the development of the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo, also equipped with the Pratt & Whitney gear turbojet engine.

CFM officials said before the Paris Air Show that the engine was able to reduce previous production delays during the grounding of the 737 MAX. CFM had already reduced the engine output gap of the Airbus A320neo.

While Boeing has reduced the production of its 737 MAX to 42 per month and has postponed an expected rate of 57, Airbus continues to produce at 60, with an expected increase to 63 in 2021.

Airbus sales manager Christian Scherer said Friday that it was possible to increase production. Industry sources indicate that Airbus is studying a future production of about 71 per month to meet the demand.

Such an approach depends mainly on the desire of engine manufacturers to take the risk of stretching already tight supply chains.

"We always want to commit to goals that we are sure to accomplish," said CFM Chief Executive Gael Meheust.

"We would be very uncomfortable engaging in something we are not completely sure about and for the moment we are not sure that the supply chain is able to do more that she is not doing it today. "

Report by Eric M. Johnson, edited by Tim Hepher

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