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Virgin America Launches LEAP Engine with $1.4 Billion Order 2011.06.18

New York, NY, USA - June 15, 2011 - Virgin America today launched CFM International's advanced LEAP engine with an order to power 30 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. The airline also announced that CFM's CFM56-5B will power 30 current technology A320s. The 60 airplanes were announced in January of this year and the engine orders have a combined value of approximately $1.4 billion U.S. at list price.

A new Virgin America A320 aptly named "My Other Ride is a Spaceship". Flight for San Francisco International Airport.
Courtesy of Virgin America / Mark Greenberg

New York, NY, USA - June 15, 2011

Virgin America today launched CFM International’s advanced LEAP™ engine with an order to power 30 new Airbus A320neo aircraft.

Virgin America A320
Courtesy of Virgin America
The airline also announced that CFM’s CFM56-5B will power 30 current technology A320s

A new Virgin America A320 aptly named "My Other Ride is a Spaceship" fly’s in tandem with White Knight2 carrying Spaceship 2.
Courtesy of Virgin America / Mark Greenberg
The 60 airplanes
were announced in January of this year and the engine orders have a combined value of approximately $1.4 billion U.S. at list price.

In this photo released by Virgin America Airlines, a Virgin America Airbus A320 aptly named, “My Other Ride is a Spaceship” is positioned beside the first commercial space flight system – Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) and SpaceShipTwo at San Francisco International Airport, April 6, 2011 in San Francisco.
The special inaugural flights were the first to touch down at San Francisco International Airport’s new Terminal Two (T2) and mark the spaceship’s first landing at an international airport.
Flight guests onboard My Other Ride is a Spaceship, included Sir Richard Branson and space pioneer Buzz Aldrin. Virgin America, the only California-based airline will be an anchor tenant at SFO’s new T2, occupying seven gates.
Courtesy of Virgin America / Bob Riha, Jr.
Both the LEAP and CFM56-5B engines are products of CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE

In this photo released by Virgin America Airlines, Sir Richard Branson relaxes at the new sustainable Terminal Two (T2) at San Francisco International Airport, April 6, 2011 in San Francisco.
The Terminal is slated to be the first LEED ® Gold-certified terminal in the U.S. and offers features intended to improve the typical airport experience, like a stress-free “Recompose” lounge post-security, free wireless and plugs throughout, living room-like gate spaces and “moodlighting” that reflects Virgin America’s own signature cabin lighting.
The only airline headquartered at SFO, Virgin America’s growth stimulated the project and informed the T2 design process from the earliest stages. The airline will be an anchor tenant at SFO’s T2.
Courtesy of Virgin America / Bob Riha, Jr.
The new airplanes will begin delivery in 2016.

LEAP engines incorporate revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment.

Virgin America’s First Class Cabin Seat
Courtesy of Virgin America
The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology

Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select
Courtesy of Virgin America
The 15 percent better engine fuel efficiency, at current fuel prices, translates to as much as $1.6 million in fuel cost savings alone for customers per airplane, per year.

LEAP technology will also achieve double-digit improvements in CO2 emissions and noise levels, all while providing the industry’s best reliability and lowest maintenance costs.

Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.
Courtesy of Virgin America
“As a young and growing airline, we credit much of our success to having the right equipment, and choosing LEAP to power our A320neos is right in line with our long-term strategy,” said Virgin America President and CEO David Cush.
“With LEAP, Virgin America is getting the best of all possible worlds: the industry’s most advanced technology - with all of the benefits that represents - as well as the consistency and inherent reliability of a CFM product. We also know that the company’s reputation for meeting its commitments is unrivaled and this latest move will help us continue to fuel growth and success in the North American market.”

Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM.
Courtesy of CFM
“We are thrilled that Virgin America is launching LEAP and look forwarding to expanding an already great relationship,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM.
“But this is just the beginning; this engine has a great future.”

22,000 to 33,000 pounds thrust; sole engine offered for the Airbus A318, A318 Elite, A319, A319 CH, A320, and A321.
Courtesy of CFM
“The advantages of LEAP technology will speak for themselves,” said Kevin McAllister, vice president of Sales for CFM.
“We believe our customers will have a clear preference for all we have to offer. CFM and its parent companies, Snecma and GE, have invested heavily in the LEAP program and spent more than 15 years developing and maturing the most advanced technology in the industry today. This engine will provide unprecedented levels of efficiency and environmental responsibility while maintaining the legacy of aviation’s most reliable product line.”

The CFM56-5B Turbofan Engine.
22,000 to 33,000 pounds thrust.
The CFM56-5B is the engine of choice for the A320 family, having been selected to power nearly 60 percent of the A318/A319/A320/A321 aircraft ordered. One of the primary factors behind the CFM56-5B's broad-based market acceptance has been its simple, rugged architecture, which gives it the highest reliability, durability and repairability in its class. More than 4,000 CFM56-5B engines have been delivered and this fleet has accumulated more than 50 million flight hours.
CFM keeps investing in technology enhancements that make the CFM56-5B even better. In Oct. 2007, Tech Insertion became the production configuration for all CFM56-5B engines. Tech Insertion provides operators with significant improvements in fuel consumption, emissions levels, and maintenance costs.
Courtesy of CFM
The lower fuel burn also reduces CO2 emission by 15 percent, while LEAP’s industry-leading combustor technology will reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a greenhouse gas, by 50 percent compared to current requirements

The Technology Behind the CFM56-5B Turbofan Engine.
Courtesy of CFM
Further contributing to Virgin America’s role as an environmentally responsible leader, the engine cuts noise by as much as 15 decibels, which will keep objectionable noise within the confines of the airport. In simple terms, this reduction is comparable to making a jack hammer operate as quietly as an alarm clock.

Engine Model: CFM56
Courtesy of CFM
Virgin America’s current A320 family fleet is powered by the CFM56

The CFM56 provides the highest reliability, durability, and lowest maintenance costs in its class.

The airline’s current fleet is up to 25 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average fleet flying domestically.

The A320neo, along with the CFM LEAP engine will yield even greater efficiencies.

CFM began testing eCore Demonstrator 2 in late May at GE facilities in Ohio, one month ahead of schedule.

eCore Demo 2 features a 10-stage high-pressure compressor and two-stage high-pressure turbine, along with the lean burn, low emissions TAPS combustor.

At the same time, CFM is close to completing a demanding 5,000-cycle endurance test program for the advanced 3-D Woven Resin Transfer Molding (3-DW RTM) fan, along with the composite fan case being developed by Snecma.

With a base of more than 500 customers, and more than 22,200 engines delivered, CFM has consistently delivered on its commitments, completing 21 engine/aircraft certifications on time and on specification.

Since the first A320 was launched in 1985, CFM56 engines have been selected to power nearly 60 percent of all A320 family aircraft.

About Virgin America

Headquartered in California and launched in August 2007, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel.

The airline’s new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat for electronic gear.

Virgin America offers Gogo™ in-flight internet service on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the North American skies via the touch-screen Red™ platform.

In just three over years flying, the carrier was named “Best Domestic Airline” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2008, 2009 and 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Domestic Airline” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 World’s Best Awards.

The airline’s current base of operations is San Francisco International Airport’s newly opened Terminal Two.

Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Chicago (as of May 25, 2011), as well as Los Cabos and Cancun, Mexico.

Press contacts

Rick Kennedy
GE Aviation, Media Relations Manager

+1 513 243 3372
+1 513 607 0609 (mobile)

Jamie Jewell
+1 513 552 2790
+1 513 885 2282 (mobile)

Source: GE


The CFM56-5B Tech Insertion


San Francisco T2 Opening


Virgin Galactic - Virgin America - Terminal 2


ASTROMAN Magazine – 2011.05.08

Virgin America Unveils its Next Generation New SFO Home


ASTROMAN Magazine - 2009.06.01

Virgin America First Airline to Offer Fleetwide WiFi


ASTROMAN magazine

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