VILLAROCHE, France May 11 The head of Safran's
aircraft engines division said on Thursday that an
engine problem with a Boeing plane was not a design
issue, and that an Airbus plane using a different
version of that engine was not affected.
Boeing said on Wednesday it had halted test flights
of its new 737 MAX aircraft due to an issue with the engine,
made by Safran-GE joint-venture CFM International. Boeing uses a
version of the engine called LEAP-1B.
Speaking at a factory outside Paris where it co-produces the
engines with General Electric, Safran Aircraft Engines
Chief Executive Olivier Andries said his company hoped to fix
the glitch "within a few weeks."
"It is not a design problem but a problem regarding the
quality of the production," said Andries. "The LEAP-1A engine
is not affected," he added.
CFM's shareholders said last month they expected to deliver
450 to 500 LEAP engines this year instead of 500 stated earlier,
although Andries said CFM still aimed to deliver as near as
possible to 500 of those engines this year.
Boeing's test flight suspension comes days before it was due
to deliver its first 737 MAX to Malaysia's Malindo Air.
Airbus, which offers a larger version called LEAP-1A on its
new A320neo aircraft family, said on Wednesday it continued to
conduct normal test flights and was unaffected.
However, it continues to experience delays in deliveries of
the other choice of engine for that type of aircraft, the Geared
Turbofan made by Pratt & Whitney.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Sudip
Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Callus)