General Electric Aviation and Safran S.A. will work together on the next generation of aircraft engines.
The companies announced June 14 they would extend their joint venture CFM International through 2050 and launch a program dedicated to developing new, more efficient aircraft engines with novel designs. The companies say the first-available CFM engines produced by the new program could be available by the mid-2030s.
GE Aviation and Safran said their goals include reducing fuel consumption by at least 20% compared to engines available today and making engines compatible with sustainable aviation fuels and future hydrogen-powered planes.
The next generation of jet engine will look different from today’s. For one, the companies say the engine will include an open-fan architecture that shows off its turbine blades. Other technologies the companies teased would be used included composite fan blades, heat resistant metal alloys, and additive manufacturing.
John Slattery, GE Aviation CEO, said in a joint statement the companies’ partnership was “the strongest it has ever been,” and promised their combined efforts would “take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”
Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran, said aviation “is in the midst of the most challenging times we have ever faced,” but said efficiency has been a “hallmark” of CFM International since it was formed in 1974.
“Through the extension of our CFM partnership to 2050, we are today reaffirming our commitment to work together as technology leaders to help our industry meet the urgent climate challenges,” he said.
Testing of a demonstrator engine is scheduled to begin tests sometime this decade, followed by flight tests.
The announcement comes as airlines and airplane manufacturers look harder at the role of aviation in reducing carbon emissions. Airbus announced in September 2020 it would seek to produce a hydrogen-powered plane by 2035.