CFM International is a 50:50 joint venture between French engine maker, Safran Aircraft Engines (formerly Snecma) and US aerospace giant, General Electric. The company was established in 1974, under an agreement between Safran Aircraft Engines and GE to jointly develop and support the CFM56 engine, the sole product of the company. Safran Aircraft Engines had previously entered a production agreement with GE for its CF6 engine, linking the two companies in financial and manufacturing areas in the late 1960s. Safran Aircraft Engines produces the low-pressure turbine and fan for the engine, while GE Aviation produces the engine core. After political and economic difficulties surrounding the programme, it was saved from cancellation by orders from Delta Air Lines and Flying Tiger Airlines and then the US Air Force.
The CFM56 has since gone on to become one of most successful commercial aircraft engines of all time, with the 20,000th engine delivered in Feb-2010. 520 customers have purchased the engine so far, with CFM56 engines powering more than 8,000 commercial aircraft. The engine has been developed into six models, with a new generation engine, the LEAP-X, currently under development. The LEAP-X has been selected to power the new COMAC C919 150-passenger aircraft scheduled to enter commercial service in 2017.
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