October 27, 2017 / 5:58 AM / a year ago

Safran CEO says Silvercrest engine delay to last months

PARIS, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Safran expects the latest development delay in its Silvercrest business-jet engine to last a matter of months, although it is still assessing the precise schedule, Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin said on Friday.

Dassault Aviation said this month that its Falcon 5X jet would be postponed after Safran identified problems with the engine’s high-pressure compressor during flight testing.

Petitcolin told reporters Safran was in discussions with Dassault to agree a new schedule. The engine had been due for certification in 2018, but he declined to estimate a new date.

Speaking after posting better-than-expected third quarter sales, Petitcolin said a previous round of technical problems, identified when the Silvercrest engine programme was reset two years ago, had all been resolved.

He said Safran’s key priority remained the ramp-up of production for the LEAP engine, co-developed with General Electric for Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft through their CFM International venture.

Safran said earlier that its 2017 operating earnings faced headwinds of 350-400 million euros from the transition to the new engine. Petitcolin said the previous working estimate had been 300-350 million euros.

He also said talks continued with Airbus about the future of production of ‘nacelles’, or engine housings, for the A320neo.

Airbus has said it is bringing in-house work on nacelles made by United Technologies for jets powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, and that it is considering doing the same for nacelles made by Safran for CFM-powered A320neo aircraft.

Petitcolin reaffirmed plans to launch a formal offer for Zodiac Aerospace by end-year and to close an agreed deal to buy the seats maker in 2018. (Reporting by Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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