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Butler County-based company receives $500M engine order

Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing Company has ordered $500 million worth of jet engines from a GE Aviation joint venture to power the company’s new Airbus A320 aircraft.

Deliveries are scheduled between 2014 and 2016, according to Rick Kennedy, a GE Aviation spokesman. The $500 million order should equate to about 50 engines for 25 new airplanes, he said.

The CFM 56-5B engines are a product of CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and French company Snecma.

CFM International is headquartered in West Chester Twp. at GE Aviation’s North Pointe at Union Centre facilities. GE Aviation is headquartered in Evendale, in suburban Cincinnati. Also, GE Aviation has a site in Beavercreek that makes components for the CFM56 engine, such as tubing and ducts.

The CFM56 engine powers the narrow body jetliners Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

“This is a really solid order,” Kennedy said. “It’s intriguing because CFM … is in the process of developing a new engine that could go into service in 2016 for new Airbus and Boeing planes, but while that’s occurring we continue to have good orders for the existing airplanes, the existing engine, so that’s what’s powerful about this one.”

GE Aviation employs 9,000 people in the Cincinnati and Dayton area, he said.

Large contracts such as the Chinese Aircraft order helps CFM lay out engine production planning for the long term, Kennedy said.

The aircraft are part of the Chinese company’s first-ever new aircraft order. The company announced an agreement with Airbus for 36 A320 family aircraft last year.

The aircraft will be initially placed with Chinese lessees, but China Aircraft plans to diversify the portfolio and expand into the rest of Asia, as well as building its presence in Europe and the United States.

China Aircraft’s new A320 aircraft will be powered by the CFM56-5B Performance Improvement Package engine, which has been in production since October 2011.

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