Boeing confident on Leap and 737 Max performance promises

Boeing's top salesman is confident the CFM International Leap-1B will meet its performance targets, ensuring that the 737 Max will satisfy all the promises made to customers about the re-engined twinjet's efficiency.

CFM engine partner General Electric began the Leap-1B flight-test programme on its 747 flying testbed on 29 April at the company's operations centre in Victorville, California. The 5h 30min sortie launched a year-long programme to complete certification in 2016, when the first 737 Max is scheduled to fly.

Amid industry speculation that the -1B engine is behind on fuel-burn targets, Boeing's senior vice-president for global sales and marketing John Wojick tells Flightglobal that CFM "is absolutely tracking to their plan" on the Leap-1B, which exclusively powers the 737 Max.

"We're confident that they're going to be very, very successful in meeting the commitments they made to us, and obviously we'll be able to meet our commitments to our customers on the fuel-burn improvement," he says.

"In fact, we're hopeful we'll be able to exceed them," adds Wojick.

The Leap-1B features ceramic matrix composite materials in the stage 2 turbine shroud and a fuel nozzle disc produced using additive layer manufacturing. It is expected to deliver a 14% fuel-efficiency improvement over the CFM56-powered 737NG.

"Results to date are right in line with what we predicted and where we wanted this engine to be," says Allen Paxson, executive vice-president, CFM International.

The 737 Max is scheduled to enter service in the third quarter of 2017 with launch operator Southwest Airlines.

CFM launched flight testing of the Leap-1C for the Comac C919 in October 2014. Four months later, the GE-Snecma joint venture confirmed that flight testing of the Leap-1A engine for the Airbus A320neo had begun.