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Full throttle for nearly half a century!


CFM International, the 50/50 joint company between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE, is celebrating its 45th anniversary today.

On September 24, 1974, two aircraft engine manufacturers, Safran Aircraft Engines (Snecma at the time) and GE, signed an agreement that created CFM International (CFM), the most successful international joint venture ever formed. CFM has already delivered more than 36,000 CFM56 and LEAP engines to over 600 customers worldwide, making it the world’s leading supplier of engines for mainline commercial jets* (over 100 seats). Its engines power airplanes carrying over seven million passengers a day!

This unrivaled success is the result of a groundbreaking partnership between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE, which calls for the two parent companies to share everything equally, from design and development to production, support and sales & marketing. Final engine assembly is performed at both GE facilities in the United States and Safran Aircraft Engine facilities in France.

The airlines’ preferred engine

This fabulous story took off on April 24, 1982 with the first flight of a CFM56-powered airplane, a Delta Airlines DC-8-71. In the years to come, CFM would add seven more engine models that now power over 20 different types of commercial and military airplanes The CFM56 would become the airlines’ preferred engine and the best-selling powerplant in the history of commercial aviation.

In early 2019, the global CFM56 fleet established a new world record by becoming the first aircraft engine family in history to reach the milestone of one billion engine flight-hours. This milestone also represents the fastest accumulation ever: the fleet reached 500 million hours in November 2010 and more than doubled that total in just over eight years!

A worthy successor

CFM International has kept going from record to record, with the introduction of the new-generation LEAP engine, the successor to the CFM56. Since recording its first order in 2011, the LEAP has become the fastest-selling engine in commercial aviation history. CFM has now logged more than 18,660 orders and commitments for the LEAP.

Along with this matchless market success has come an unprecedented production ramp-up. Four years after starting LEAP production, Safran Aircraft Engines will be turning out more than 2,000 engines in 2020 – a production rate that the company’s CFM56 engine took 35 years to reach!  

In August 2016, Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines became the first airline to operate CFM’s advanced LEAP-1A engine, on an Airbus A320neo. The LEAP-1B-powered Boeing 737 MAX made its first commercial flight a year later, entering service with Malaysia’s Malindo Air.

The LEAP engine has fully met our commitments to operators by delivering on the promised 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, compared to the best CFM56, while also dramatically reducing engine noise and emissions. To date, the LEAP has logged over 5.6 million flight-hours for more than 110 operators worldwide.

CFM International will continue to go from success to success, following the 2008 signature of an agreement that renews the partnership between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines to the year 2040.


(*) In addition to the CFM joint venture, Safran Aircraft Engines is a long-standing partner with GE on large commercial engines, including the CF6, GE90, GEnx and GE9X.

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