A320neo_CFM_TAKE_OFF.jpg Airbus

Safran Reveals Leap Turbine Shroud Coating Issue

Issue found on Leap-1As, but could affect -1Bs too.

A "premature loss of coating" on CFM Leap-1A high-pressure turbine composite shrouds has led Safran to set aside €50 million ($58 million) to trouble-shoot in-service engines, including potentially some Leap-1Bs, the company reports.

"We have only a few cases as of today," Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin told analysts during the company's recent earnings call. "We have decided to go on the conservative side…and take a provision on the full quantity of engines that we believe…may be impacted by this small problem."

The issue is with a two-layer thermal coating on the shrouds, which are made of ceramic matrix composites, Petitcolin explains. "There is a peeling of this coating. But there is nothing wrong, no issue at all, with the shroud itself," he adds.

The problem has only been seen on Leap-1A engines that power Airbus A320neos, but the issue "could" affect some Leap-1Bs on Boeing 737 Maxs, Petitcolin says. 

"We have found nothing so far on -1B," he emphasizes. "But in our provision, we have taken both, again, being on the conservative side."

The €50 million provision is included in an estimated €350-400 million set of non-recurring "headwinds" in 2017 as part of transitioning from the CFM56 to the Leap. The €50 million is for "potential additional actions to ensure time on-wing," Petitcolin says. The Leap-1A is flying with 16 airlines, while the Leap-1B is in service with eight carriers. 

CFM partners Safran and GE delivered 110 Leap engines in the third quarter: 49 to Airbus and 61 to Boeing. Petitcolin says the full-year target of "more than 450" deliveries remains "in line." CFM delivered 257 Leaps in the first nine months of 2017.

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