New York City - In a special ceremony, Saudi Arabian Airlines signed the final agreement to formalize the airline's order for CFM56-5B engines to power 22 new Airbus A320 family aircraft.

The $300 million order was originally announced at the 2008 Farnborough Air Show. The airline, which is also leasing CFM56-5B-powered A320s, is scheduled to begin taking delivery of the new aircraft later this year.

In originally announcing the order, Engineer Khalid Almolhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines said, "The CFM56-5B is the right engine for our A320 new fleet. The engine combines operational efficiency as well as lower NOx emissions for our planet. This will effectively be the engine of choice for all of the airline's A320 aircraft."

Saudi Arabian Airlines, the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, began operations in 1945 with a single twin-engined DC-3 that had been presented to King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud by the then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today, it is one of the Middle East's largest airlines, operating a fleet of 98 aircraft to nearly 90 destinations. It operates flights to more than 60 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

All of Saudi Arabian's CFM56-5B engines are the Tech Insertion configuration. This technology will provide operators with a 1 percent improvement in fuel consumption over the life of the product, compared to the base CFM56-5B engine. This lower fuel consumption will also lower CO2, reducing these emissions by 200 tons per aircraft per year. Improved analytic design tools have also enabled CFM to further optimize the Tech Insertion combustor so that it will provide 25 percent lower NOx emissions.

Over the engine's life cycle, Tech Insertion will also provide operators with longer time on wing and will lower maintenance costs between five and 12 percent, depending on the thrust rating. These benefits are achieved through improvements to the high-pressure compressor and the high- and low-pressure turbines.

Source: Press Release (CFM International)