Commercial aircraft engines manufacturer CFM International, a 50:50 joint venture between France's Snecma (Safran Group) and General Electric Company of the US, opened its CFM56 (engine) training centre in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
This is CFM's fourth such centre globally, with the other three being in the US, China and France.
The first tenant in the ‘Aerospace Park’ special economic zone (SEZ), being developed by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL), the CFM56 training centre will seen an incremental investment of $15 million (approximately Rs 70 crore) over the next decade, including initial start-up costs.
“There is an increasing need of skilled manpower to support the growth of commercial air transport in Asia. The new CFM56 centre, which is expected to be fully certified by the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation in a month, will have the capacity to train 500 students per year,” CFM president and chief executive Eric Bachelet, told mediapersons. The first batch of students is scheduled to begin training from March 8, 2010.
Equipped with two fully dedicated engines – CFM56-7B and CFM56-5B, which power Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft and the tools required to conduct both theoretical and hands-on training – the new centre will offer courses in general familiarisation, line maintenance, borescope inspection and trend monitoring.
Mulls logistics and spare parts facility
CFM is planning to set up a logistics and engine spare parts services facility in the Aerospace Park, according to Paul Andre Chevrin, vice-president (India). "The facility will cater to the customers in south Asia. The plan is still on the drawing board stage," he said, while declining to draw any time line.
CFM, which has 320 engines in service in India powering Airbus and Boeing aircraft for Air India, Air India Express, Go Air and SpiceJet, currently has orders for close to 200 engines in the country. “The Indian aviation sector was affected due to the economic crisis. However, it recovered in 2009, gaining 78 per cent domestic growth. With Airbus and Boeing predicting that India requires around 1,000 aircraft valued at around $100 billion over the next 20 years, the sector is set to witness a steady growth,” Bachelet said.
To launch open rotor engine tech
Stating that the company was looking at introducing an all new baseline engine with a turbo fan (Leap-X), Bachelet said the new advanced technology will help in 10-15 per cent lower fuel consumption and noise versus today’s best CFM56 engine, besides reducing the nitrogen oxide emissions to about 60 per cent. Leap-X, which will give a weight benefit of 1,000 pounds per aircraft, will be ready by 2016.
“Long term, we are working on an open rotor engine technology, which will give about 30 per cent improved fuel burn per seat. The test run on the engine will be complete by early 2011 and will enter into service in 2016. Leap-X is the candidate for Airbus and Boeing, which are planning to replace their aircraft engines by 2020,” he added.
International airport to be a 'Port City'
GHIAL is planning to bring to the Aerospace Park SEZ all aviation, avionics and related activities, which are currently outsourced widely, said GMR Group chairman G Mallikarjuna Rao. “We are proposing to develop several ports within the 5,400-acre airport. Immediately, we are going for a 500-bed hospital and are set to sign up a leading healthcare major in the next six months. We have already signed pacts for setting up an international management school and are in final stages of entering into agreement for developing a convention centre,” Rao said, while declining divulge the investments in this expansion.