Albany International Corp. commented today on the announcement by Safran that the advanced new LEAP-X1C engine offered by Safran and General Electric (through their CFM International joint venture) had been selected as the sole western-sourced engine by COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.) for COMAC’s new 150-seat aircraft, the C919. As previously reported, Albany Engineered Composites, Inc. (“AEC”), a subsidiary of Albany International Corp. (“Albany”), has been working with Safran on an exclusive basis since 2006 to develop and commercialize advanced composite fan blades and other engine components for future jet engines, including the LEAP-X, utilizing AEC's unique 3-D weaving technology.
CFM also reported yesterday that COMAC had forecast a global market of more than 2,000 C919 aircraft over the 20 years after it first enters service. According to Safran, COMAC expects the C919 to enter service in 2016.
CFM announced the LEAP-X engine in 2008, describing it as an entirely new baseline turbofan engine to power future replacements for current short-to-medium range narrow-body aircraft likely to enter the market in the next decade.
The selection of the LEAP-X1C to power the C919, and the expected entry into service date of 2016, should translate into earlier- and larger-than-anticipated growth in AEC sales as early as 2014, as well as increased expenses and capital investment at AEC as early as 2010. The Company and AEC are currently in discussions with Safran to finalize commercial terms and production timelines, after which the Company should have greater clarity around these future financial impacts. The potential for even further increases in sales and capital investment associated with the LEAP-X engine during this time frame will depend on the extent to which the LEAP-X platform is adopted for use on other short-to-medium range narrow-body aircraft entering the market in the next decade.
Albany International is a global advanced textiles and materials processing company. Its core business is the world's leading producer of custom-designed fabrics and belts essential to the production of paper and paperboard. Albany's family of emerging businesses extends its advanced textiles and materials capabilities into a variety of other industries, most notably aerospace composites, nonwovens, building products, and high-performance industrial doors. Additional information about the Company and its businesses and products is available at www.albint.com.
John Cozzolino, 518-445-2281
Vice President–Corporate Treasurer
& Strategic Planning
Susan Siegel, 518-445-2284
Director of Corporate Communications