MIAMI – SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK) will use CFM International’s fuel-efficient LEAP-1A jet engines to power 35 new Airbus A320neo passenger jets. CFM International is a 50-50 joint company between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines.

The deal combines the engines and related maintenance service and is valued at a list price of US$2.9bn. Magnus Örnberg, Executive Vice President and CFO of SK, says that the carrier’s objective is to lead in sustainable aviation and to reduce emissions by 25% by 2025 compared to 2005.

Örnberg adds that SK will use “state-of-the-art technologies allowing for lower fuel consumption and an increase in the use of sustainable aviation fuels.”

3D printing allows engineers to make parts that would be difficult or impossible to manufacture any other way. This example shows a 3D-printed heat exchanger. Image credit: Tomas Kellner for GE Reports.

Breakthrough Materials

According to a report by Tomas Kellner, around a decade ago, CFM International began developing the LEAP jet engine. By using breakthrough materials and technologies, the CMF engineers were able to lower fuel consumption by 15%, lower CO2 emissions, and make it quieter compared to the engine’s predecessor, the CFM56.

To make its engines run more efficiently, the company 3D-prints the metal fuel nozzle tips that spray a mixture of fuel and air into the combustor of the engine. While the walnut-sized portion’s interior design is very complex and hard to make, GE Aviation engineers managed to find a way to print it directly from a computer file.

The engine also uses components made of a light and heat-resistant material, a composite of a ceramic matrix (CMCs) that can withstand temperatures near 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit, where even the most advanced alloys grow soft. In general, at higher temperatures, jet engines can work more effectively.

SAS Airbus 321LR. Photo: Airbus

SAS Airbus A321LR

SAS currently operates 44 Airbus A320neo and one A321LR powered by the LEAP engine. As part of its strategy to establish international routes, including to the US, the carrier aims to add two extra A321LR. SAS took delivery of the first Airbus A321LR last October.

The aircraft, registered SE-DMO, flew from Airbus’ Hamburg plant to Copenhagen on delivery. The delivery flight from Airbus Hamburg to its home base in Copenhagen used a 10% sustainable jet fuel blend. The initiative was part of SAS’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Featured image: SAS