EVENDALE, Ohio - Air France has awarded GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) a contract valued at more than $100 million to provide engine upgrade kits for its GEAE-powered fleet of early-model Boeing 747s.

The agreement calls for GEAE to provide up to 106 hot-section upgrade kits for the airline's CF6-50 engines that power the airline's 747-200s and 747-300s. The upgrade kits will provide significant improvement in engine life, cost of ownership, and long-term residual value.

GE Engine Services, a division of GEAE, is performing CF6-50 upgrade engine testing and jointly managed the certification process with the GEAE CF6 Project. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the CF6-50 high-pressure turbine upgrade kit on October 8, 2001. The upgrade kits will be installed during engine overhaul by Air France Industries.

"We are excited to provide Air France real financial benefit and infuse new technology into their CF6-50s," said George Oliver, president and CEO of GE Engine Services. "As the OEM for these engines, we are continually looking for ways to provide better value to the customer and to improve the performance of our in-service fleet. This represents a huge opportunity to both the customer and GE."

The hot-section upgrade kit incorporates advanced turbine materials, coatings and cooling technology from the latest generation of aircraft engine designs, which were not available when the original CF6-50 engines were launched in the 1970s.

The CF6-50 hot-section upgrade kit enables customers to achieve up to 25 percent improvement in time on wing, improved EGT margin retention and a reduction in shop visits, scrap, repair and material costs. To complement the CF6-50 hot-section upgrade, combustor liners and turbine mid frames are being made available to allow customers to customize packages to meet their specific requirements.

With more than 150 kits now on order from customers worldwide, the CF6-50 hot-section upgrade is expected to significantly increase the residual value of CF6-50-powered aircraft and create a new standard for maintenance and service.

GE Aircraft Engines, a division of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is the world's leading manufacturer of jet engines for civil and military aircraft, including engines produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma of France and GE. GEAE also manufactures gas turbines, derived from its highly successful jet engine programs, for marine and industrial applications. In addition, GEAE provides comprehensive maintenance support, through its GE Engine Services operation, for GE and non-GE jet engines in service throughout the world.