GE-Safran venture to buid more Airbus engines: report

©Agence France-Presse

A General Electric-Safran aviation joint-venture reportedly plans to manufacture more engines for Airbus planes amid the travails of the Boeing 737 MAX

New York (AFP) - A General Electric-Safran aviation joint-venture plans to manufacture more engines for Airbus planes amid the travails of the Boeing 737 MAX, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The CFM International venture, which builds LEAP engines for both aerospace companies, will increase output for Airbus's A320neo, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The report follows Boeing's announcement on Monday that it plans to temporarily halt production of the MAX amid uncertainty over when regulators will clear the plane to resume service.

CFM earlier trimmed engine production for the MAX after Boeing cut output on the planes in April following a global grounding after the two crashes, which together claimed 346 lives.

Airbus, GE and Safran all declined to comment on the report.

A GE spokesman said, "We are partnering with our customers and suppliers to mitigate the impact of the temporary shutdown of the 737 MAX, while protecting the company’s ability to accelerate production as needed in the future." 

The MAX grounding resulted in a $1 billion hit to GE's cash flow in 2018 through the end of September and was estimated to dent cash flow by $400 million more in the fourth quarter, GE said in an October securities filing.

On Tuesday, Safran Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin told a French business magazine that the company expected to sharply reduce its production of LEAP engines for the MAX but would not halt output completely.