7 Remarkable Facts About Jet Engines

It always gives me goose bumps when the gentle roar of the engines starts seeping into the tranquillity of the cabin. But the engines only really come to life during take-off, pushing you back into your seat as the aircraft accelerates on the runway, and then you’re airborne. Engines are probably the most striking and impressive part of an aircraft. So much so, that I wanted to know more about these fascinating powerhouses and decided to do some research.

The very, very biggest

Measuring 3.43 meters in diameter, the General Electric GE90-115B is the biggest engine in the KLM fleet. These big boys power our Boeing 777-300ERs, which are the biggest twin-engined aircraft in the KLM fleet. These engines generate 115,000 pounds of thrust, which makes them the “World’s Most Powerful Commercial Jet Engine”, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Engine Boeing 777

Flight cycle

Our B777-300ERs spend almost 16 hours a day in the air. It is important to keep track of this because the engines must be regularly maintained. Operational deployment is measured in flight hours and flight cycles. Each cycle consists of a single take-off and landing. Our B777s complete 1.9 flight cycles per day, on average.

Check, Check, Triple-Check

Maintenance varies per engine type. The GE90-115B, which powers our B777s, goes in for a check-up multiple times per year. A major overhaul is done after the engine has been operational for about 750 days. Minor maintenance is conducted in between the bigger checks. In short, the engines get plenty of attention to keep them in perfect running order!

Jet engine

Engine on the operating table

KLM has its own Engine Shop where engines undergo maintenance. KLM has a reserve engine for every type it operates, so that engine maintenance can be carried out while the aircraft remains operational. An engine can be replaced within 24 hours.

Advanced Lego

Engines are fully disassembled when they’re overhauled. On average, a jet engine consist of around 40,000 parts, which means this process can take 50 to 60 days. I can only imagine how many diagrams they need! After a full overhaul, the engine is as good as new and ready for many thousands of kilometres in the air.

Jet engine


Aircraft engines are very costly. Because airlines always buy their aircraft with the engines attached, it’s difficult to say just how expensive they are. And the price varies per engine type, of course. Roughly speaking, prices range from USD 12 to 35 million.


An aircraft engine reaches temperatures of up to 1,400 degrees Celsius (2,552 degrees Fahrenheit) in the hottest part of the engine, where compressed air is mixed with fuel and ignited.

For more information about jet engines, read the blogs by Jacky and Miranda and Rob Duivis.

Posted by:   Jelte Vlasblom  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Mercedes Elsa López

Hola! Such a wonderful post, I will fly very much more calm every time I seat in an airplane. Thank you very much indeed. And, congratulations for all the people that makes KLM such a wonderful company.

Jelte Vlasblom

Thank you for your kind words!


Very interesting information, thank you very much for sharing with us.

Jelte Vlasblom

I’m glad you enjoyed reading the blog :)

Jagath Rupasiri

Very valuable information.



Cees Aandeweg

It feels very safe to fly KLM…

David Harris

The focus on maintenance and airworthiness is commendable.

Bob Kammeijer

Always have complete faith in KLMS maintenance dept. no shortcuts.


It’s Not just engine maintenance that most important…… Inflight service is also very very important indeed…… I myself got terrible inflight service by KLM on the way back home from London via Schiphol


Should be rolls royce trent superlative engines


The jet engine of the 777 is the same diameter as the fuselage of a 737. Think about that for a min; gives one an idea of just how big those herd really are!


I’m always happy to fly with KLM and proud to be a part of the company that builds those wonderful jet engines…

Leo van der Voort

I always feel VERY SAFE when I fly with them!

Percy Bacas

My uncle Jan worked with engines for KLM. As a little boy i heard his stories.. May he rest in peace.

Ron Brands

Those engines are really huge!!! I have been several times in the workshop of KLM for the airhandling systems. The workshop is very clean, it looks like a clean room. Wonderfull. Really 100% reliable maintenance. Good to know because we, and my children, fly a lot Amsterdam-Stockholm, always with KLM.

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