India’s SpiceJet may have been just a blip on the radar screen a few years ago, but the budget carrier’s profile is swiftly rising. In 2017, Bloomberg Intelligence picked SpiceJet as the world’s best performing airline stock. Its price had risen 800 percent from 2014, lifted in part by the carrier’s new ownership and plans to add capacity, including an agreement to buy 155 new next-generation jets from Boeing.
On Saturday, SpiceJet said it would power those planes with engines built by CFM International, a 50-50 joint-venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines. The deal, valued at a whopping $12.5 billion, includes engines for the new fleet, spare engines, as well as services.
CFM is the sole engine supplier for Boeing’s new 737 MAX single-aisle passenger jets, the aircraft SpiceJet ordered for its fleet. Each plane uses a pair of LEAP-1B engines, the first commercial jet engines with 3D-printed fuel nozzles, parts made from light and heat resistant ceramic composites, and fan blades woven in 3D from carbon fibers. These and other technologies help make the LEAP engine more quiet, easier to maintain and 15 percent more fuel efficient than current engines made by CFM.
Other variants of the engine power Airbus A319neo, A320neo and A321neo jets, and also China’s Comac C919 jets. CFM received orders for 14,300 LEAP engines valued at $207 billion. “We are looking forward to introducing the new LEAP-1B into our fleet,” said Ajay Singh, SpiceJet’s chairman and managing director, said in a statement. “From what we have seen so far, the LEAP-1B is living up to its promises for efficiency and reliability,” he added. “We hope they provide us unmatched service reliability while keeping our costs in check to ensure profitable operations.”