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GE-Safran Venture Lifts Engine Output on Boeing, Airbus Backlog

CFM International, the General Electric Co. engine venture with Safran SA, plans to lift output by more than 10 percent by 2019 as it seeks to satisfy growing demand from Boeing Co., Airbus SAS, and China’s Comac.

Production, due to exceed 1,500 turbines for the first time this year, will reach 1,700 in six years, CFM Executive Vice President Chaker Chahrour said at the Dubai Air Show. Output may rise further if Airbus follows Boeing’s lead in stepping up single-aisle plane output, and CFM can reach 1,800 engines without significant investment, he said.

CFM International is the exclusive engine provider for Boeing 737 and Comac C919 and competes for orders with the Pratt & Whitney-led International Aero Engines joint venture on the Airbus A320. Boeing announced plans to boost 737 output 24 percent to 47 jets per month by 2017, with Airbus considering a move beyond a build rate of 42 planes.

“We have looked at rate 50 and above,” Chahrour said. “We will be ready to get there if that materialized.”

Order intake at CFM this year is already 21 percent above last year’s level, said Jean-Paul Ebanga, the joint venture’s chief executive officer. Bookings topped 2,360 engines at the end of last month, compared with 1,972 for all of 2012.

Sales of both the current CFM56 powerplant and the Leap, which is still in development and will power future narrow-bodies, are ahead previous year’s level.

The engine maker booked orders at the Dubai Air Show from Etihad Airways PJSC to power A320neos and will provide the powerplants for FlyDubai’s order of as many as 111 737s, including 100 of the new Max version in a deal valued at $2.6 billion. Lufthansa today will also place an order to power 30 A321s in a deal valued at $610 million at list price.

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