China picks CFM to power future aircraft -Les Echos

PARIS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - China has chosen aircraft engine maker CFM International to power a future rival to the Airbus EAD.PA A320 and Boeing BA.N 737 jets, Les Echos newspaper reported on Thursday.

An agreement is set to be signed on Monday in Beijing during a visit by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the paper said. CFM is a joint venture between General Electric GE.N and France's Safran SAF.PA.

Under the deal, CFM would provide its LEAP-X turbofan engines, currently being developed, for the government-backed Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China’s (COMAC) C919 plane, Les Echos said.

COMAC has said it will select engine suppliers for the C919 by the end of the year and has been holding talks with four main engine suppliers, including General Electric, Rolls Royce RR.L and United Technologies Corp's UTX.N Pratt & Whitney. [ID:nHKG100609]

China’s C919 would have at least 150 seats and deliveries are expected to start in 2016, COMAC has said. COMAC could yet choose multiple engine suppliers for the C919, Les Echos added. CFM, which is the sole supplier for Boeing’s 737 series, expects the LEAP-X could be certified by 2016. The engine will run on 16 percent less fuel and have 16 percent fewer CO2 emissions than existing CFM engines, according to CFM. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)