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Maintenance

Work in progress

The V2500 is now well established, as is the support network. Ian Harbison spoke to some of the key players to get their views on the MRO market
 

Starting with the original engine manufacturer (OEM), Jon Beatty, Chief Executive Officer, says the company celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and is one of the most successful joint ventures of all time. With 5,700 engines delivered to date, he anticipates that this will be an 8,000 engine programme by the time production fully transitions to the Airbus 320neo. Production has been increasing, from an all time high of 460 engines in 2012, to over 500 engines scheduled for this year. He says at less than seven years, the average age of the V2500-A5 engine is relatively young, which means about half the fleet is yet to reach a first shop visit. While there are about 800 shop visits planned this year, this should increase in the future.

 

Some 60% of V2500-A5 engines are covered by V-Services flight hour agreements, although the trend is increasing to somewhere between 70 and 80%. The percentage of IAE’s customers who are lessors has continued to grow over the years. Leasing companies, who manage about half the fleet, are taking between 20 and 30% of current deliveries. Their requirements vary widely, as such IAE has developed flexible responses to meet their needs. For example, IAE’s V-Secure service provides lessors with additional maintenance reserve security and increased protection, in the event of fleet hour agreement default by an operator. Like many smaller airlines, leasing companies also want to minimise the number of spare engines they hold, so IAE is offering a lease pool service for this.

 

As part of a continuous improvement programme, the company introduced SelectOne into service in 2008, which offered up to 20% more time on-wing and a 1% improvement in fuel burn. Today, IAE is developing SelectTwo, for around half a percent fuel burn improvement. SelectTwo has been validated in flight tests with Airbus and will be available to customers at the end of 2014, with Etihad recently ordering 73 kits to upgrade the engines for 35 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, plus spares. SelectThree is also now under consideration and, based on customer feedback, would focus on reducing maintenance costs. The company is also looking to expand other aspects of its V-Services aftermarket portfolio with V-Secure and Pure-V. IAE is considering launching Pure-V by the end of 2013, which will brand those engines that have been maintained to the IAE build standard.

 

Following last year’s sale of Rolls-Royce’s programme share to Pratt & Whitney, Beatty says there is now a single face to the customer for the Pratt & Whitney and IAE product line with combined sales and support teams. This is important as airlines are now ordering A320ceo and neo versions at the same time, and both IAE and Pratt & Whitney can now respond with a combined package of V2500 and PW1100G-JM engines. He notes that, of the 17 announced PW1100G-JM customers, 13 are existing V2500 engine operators.

 

A good example of this joint approach was the recent announcement that Mexican airline Volaris has signed a 12-year PureSolution maintenance service agreement for 66 PW1100G-JM engines, including spare and option engines, to power 30 firm A320neo aircraft, as well as a 12-year V-Services maintenance service agreement for 29 V2500 engines, including spare engines, to power 14 A320ceo aircraft.

 

Pratt & Whitney

Mike Mahonski, Engine Center Director, says the aftermarket for V2500 engines managed by IAE under V-Services flight hour agreements are divided equally by value between the four programme partners: Pratt & Whitney, PWAEI, Japanese Aero Engine Corporation, and MTU. This would imply that Pratt & Whitney has a 50% share, but he explains that Rolls-Royce retains a portion of the MRO work at East Kilbride, UK. Each of the programme partners may also offer MRO services directly to V2500 customers. Pratt & Whitney has been an overhaul provider for the V2500 engine since the mid-1990s.

 

Pratt & Whitney’s share of the V2500 work is divided between the company’s engine overhaul facilities in Columbus, Georgia; Christchurch New Zealand (a joint venture with Air New Zealand); and Istanbul, Turkey (a joint venture with Turkish Technic). Between the three engine centres there is capacity for around 300 V2500 engine shop visits per year. He adds that the joint venture partners bring direct operating experience and help keep the focus on managing the cost of ownership for the customer.

 

Mahonski says the company has strict targets for turnaround times (TAT), marked by three gates that, in total, consume less than 60 days: Gate 1 (disassembly and inspection); Gate 2 (repair and overhaul); and Gate 3 (assembly and test). The focus is always on critical parts during Gate 1, to get them into the system to be worked on as quickly as possible. He notes that Christchurch is the fastest shop for Gate 1 and has a total TAT in the ‘low to mid-50s’. The partners are now investing $20 million in new workshops and a logistics centre, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

 

Christchurch City Council and Christchurch International Airport have also stated that they support the development. Given its somewhat remote location, Mahonski adds that the current logistics department has developed smart ways of moving components quickly, and the overall efficiency is such that distance from the market is not a factor. Logistics plays an important part overall, as components are fed into a worldwide network of repair shops, such as Turbine Overhaul Services in Singapore (blades and vanes); Pratt & Whitney PSD in Springdale, Arkansas; Pratt & Whitney PWAI in Ireland (casings); and the company’s East Hartford, Connecticut facility (rotating parts).

 

Cindy Adelman, V2500 Aftermarket Program Manager, says there are around 2,300 aircraft in service with V2500 engines, servicing approximately 190 operators and lessors in 70 countries. These will generate approximately 800 shop visits this year. With a substantial order backlog, the fleet is expected to grow to 3,200 aircraft by 2018, with an expected peak of nearly 1,400 shop visits per year within the next decade. Though production of the A320ceo engine is intended to cease in 2018, with it set to be replaced by the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM engine, support will still be needed for much longer. >>


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