When the earliest flight enthusiasts gathered at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1909 for an exhibition on “Aerial Locomotion,” they ooohed and aaahed at the latest technology on display – mostly hot air balloons. At the 2011 edition, the 49th International Paris Air Show, which opened today, show-goers will be able to check out just how far we’ve come, and perhaps no technology demonstrates that better than the LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) engine, developed by CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and French engine manufacturer Snecma.
LEAP is a high-bypass turbofan jet engine that boasts an advanced aerodynamic design and lighter, more durable materials, and that dramatically increases the fuel efficiency of narrow-bodied aircraft like the Airbus A320neo. Just last week, Virgin America officially launched the Ecomaginative engine, announcing it would order the LEAP engine for 30 of its new A320neo aircraft, resulting in 15 percent more fuel efficiency gains than existing tech. Virgin said it would save $1.9 million annually per plane, cut CO2 emissions and also achieve double-digit reductions in greenhouse gas Nox emissions.
Not to be outdone, Scandinavian carrier SAS announced today in Le Bourget that it had chosen the LEAP engine to power 30 new A320neo planes that will begin delivery in 2016, an order valued at $710 million.
“There are several factors that weighed into our decision, but the leading-edge environmental technologies CFM has developed for the LEAP engine made it an easy choice,” said Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.
GE Aviation will be livestreaming from Le Bourget all this week – you can find the stream at GE Aviation’s Paris Air Show website and on GE’s Facebook page. In the first installment, beginning today, Lorraine Bolsinger, President and CEO of GE Aviation Systems, will preview the week’s events.