Tag Archives: #maintenance

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VSE Aviation Expands Aftermarket Reach Through New Agreements

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VSE Aviation has announced six new aftermarket distributions agreements and plans to open a facility in Hamburg, Germany during the first quarter of next year. The agreements involve several manufacturers with contract terms ranging from 1-15 years. The deals are worth around $750 million in value.

The most notable agreement is with Pratt & Whitney Canada to support the European, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) markets. VSE Aviation plans to provide engine line maintenance, spare parts and engine accessory exchange support to engine operators, customers and maintenance providers. This now boosts VSE’s geographical expansion following previously awarded distribution agreements covering North America and Asia in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

VSE Aviation will also expand a current sole distributor agreement for Honeywell’s JetWave tail-mounted antenna systems in the EMEA and India. The agreement represents an expansion of the previously awarded distribution agreement from October 2022 covering fuselage-mounted antenna systems.

Under another agreement with an unspecified tire supplier, VSE will distribute re-treaded tires for the regional airline sector. This partnership leverages VSE’s recent acquisition of Desser Aerospace and broadens the solutions that VSE Aviation provides. The acquisition will also support VSE’s distribution of lead-acid batteries to the business and general aviation sectors under an expended agreement with a manufacturer of ground power batteries.

The tip-to tail strategy will get a further boost to cover distribution of airframe interior plastic components including tray tables, seat shrouds, plastic wall and ceiling panels, flooring and lavatory shrouds, according to VSE.

The agreements are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024.

The new 45,000 ft.2 distribution facility in Hamburg will also support operators in the EMEA region and VSE believes the investment will position it to expand global coverage and support for its commercial and business and general aviation distribution aftermarket product lines, including the tire, tube and battery product lines associated with the Desser Aerospace acquisition.

VSE expects the new agreements to generate $25-30 million in new revenue in 2024, rising to $50 million in 2025. 

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Honeywell Signs MENA MRO Support Agreements

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Saudia Technic expands its APU servicing to cover Boeing 777s.

Honeywell announced two agreements during the Dubai Airshow that will expand the company’s support network in the Middle East and North Africa. The 10-year deal with Saudia Technic covers a global license to service the 331-500 auxiliary power unit installed in the Boeing 777. The full-service MRO organization will become Honeywell’s first authorized service center in the Middle East for the 777’s APU.

Formerly known as Saudi Arabian Aerospace Engineering Industries, Saudia Technic is creating an MRO Village in Jeddah, where it will inspect, repair, overhaul, and upgrade APUs. The 331-500 deal adds to another 10-year agreement announced in 2021 for Saudi Technic to become an authorized service center for the 131-9 APU model fitted to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

In a separate, five-year deal Egyptair Maintenance and Engineering has gained a license to provide a flat-rate component repair service for aircraft operated by its sister airline. The deal covers Egyptair’s Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft, along with the 737 and 777 from Boeing.

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Gulf Air Extends MRO Partnership with Joramco

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Joramco has provided heavy maintenance for the Bahrain carrier for the past decade

Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, has extended its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) contract with Jordan Aircraft Maintenance (Joramco) for fleet support services for another four years. Based in Amman, Joramco is the MRO and engineering arm of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.

Under the agreement signed by Gulf Air CEO Waleed Abdul Hameed Alalawi and Joramco CEO Frasier Currie during the Dubai Airshow on Monday, the extension builds on a decade-long partnership originally formed in January 2013.

Gulf Air’s Technical Division handles the carrier’s A-checks and C-checks at its facility at Bahrain International Airport, while Joramco provides heavy maintenance for the fleet at its MRO center at Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan,

“This collaboration is a pivotal move in enhancing Gulf Air’s maintenance needs to meet the demands of our expanding fleet and the longevity of our fleet at the highest standards,” Alalawi said, adding that Jormaco’s close proximity to Bahrain will enable swift aircraft transfers and minimize downtime.

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Airlines Forced To Rethink Spare Engine Ratios

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The durability problems of new-build narrowbody engines are great news for most engine lessors, which tend to stock the CFM International CFM56 and IAE V2500 powerplants that many airlines are turning to for cover.

Less certain is for how long this boost lasts and whether, in time, the CFM Leap and Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) can be improved to the point where they offer similar time on wing to their predecessor engines.

“It is clear that time on wing for the Leap and GTF is currently compromised but we are comparing very mature and stable models in the CFM56 and V2500 with still immature models of Leap and GTF,” comments the incoming President and CEO of engine lessor ELFC, Richard Hough, in an interview with Aviation Week’s Engine Yearbook 2024.

“The CFM56 and V2500 both also had entry-into-service issues that took a number of years to stabilize, but there were lower numbers in service so fleet management plans had less of an impact on operations,” he says.

However, Hough adds that OEMs have told airlines they will need to own a higher ratio of new narrowbody spare engines than they did in the past.

“In effect this is an acknowledgment that time on wing will be lower, thereby increasing the percentage of required spare engines, which [bodes] well for lessors both in the short and long run,” says Hough.

While lessors are scrambling to acquire good-condition CFM56 and V2500 models, the race is also on to build up GTF and Leap portfolios to feed spare engine demand that appears set for a long-term structural shift.

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West Star Aviation Acquires Jet East from Gama Aviation

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The maintenance, repair and overhaul companies value the deal at some $100 million

West Star Aviation has concluded its planned acquisition of fellow MRO and managed fleet provider Jet East, some three weeks after Jet East owner Gama Aviation and West Star private equity owner Sterling Group conditionally agreed to the deal at last month’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas. Although Jet East’s enterprise value totaled $131 million, proceeds to Gama Aviation amount to some $100 million.

Jet East provides MRO services and supports fractional and managed fleet operators. Capabilities include an “expansive” AOG mobile repair technician network, line maintenance operations, heavy maintenance facilities, and other complementary services. Gama Aviation has provided MRO services in the U.S. since 2012, and in 2020 Wheels Up acquired Gama Aviation’s aircraft management business. In January 2021, Gama Aviation purchased Jet East for $11.9 million.

“Both West Star and Jet East are remarkable companies with strong and unique cultures,” said Jim Rankin, CEO of West Star Aviation. “I’m looking forward to bringing the Jet East and West Star teams together as we build the premier business aviation maintenance provider in the industry. Our focus now is to use this combination to better serve our customers and support our employees.” 

In a statement, West Star stressed that customers and vendors should expect no change while leaders of each organization work together on longer-term integration planning.

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Safran, HAL Ink MoU To Forge Commercial Engine Parts

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Safran Aircraft Engines has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to develop industrial cooperation in forging parts manufacturing for commercial aircraft engines.

As a part of the deal, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will produce CFM Leap engine parts for Safran’s Bangalore facilities with an aim to support the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ policy, as well as the Leap program’s ramp-up.

HAL already is a part of the Leap supply chain through its Safran HAL Aircraft Engines joint venture in Bangalore, which is dedicated to the production of aero-engines pipes. 

“This industrial cooperation on key technologies is consistent with our strategy to further develop our long-term ties with Indian aviation industry to sustain the growing domestic market,” says Jean-Paul Alary, CEO of Safran Aircraft Engines. “It also represents a milestone of our long-standing efforts toward reinforcing India’s sovereign capabilities in aero-engines design and manufacturing.

Safran’s long-term ambition is to develop a comprehensive aero-engines ecosystem in India, further adding to its existing footprint. Safran already has three production facilities in India between Hyderabad and Bangalore. By 2025 it will open a fourth facility—one of its largest—in Hyderabad dedicated to Leap MRO activities. It is also jointly developing a helicopter engine MRO facility with HAL in Goa. It is expected to be operational by 2025.

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Broken Supply Chain Hobbles Offshore S-92 Operators

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Aircraft’s dispatch reliability plummets as safety concerns rise

Supply-chain woes continue to adversely impact offshore helicopter operators, according to a notice recently issued by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers’ (IOGP) aviation subcommittee (ASC). In a recent IOGP ASC safety notice to members, the organization branded the situation as “serious and deteriorating,” saying it presented “significant safety and operational risks.”

While the problems were particularly acute with regard to the Sikorsky S-92, with 86 percent of its fleet flying offshore energy, the ASC said the situation pervaded the entire industry. But the S-92, with its unique capacity to carry 19 passengers and service deepwater clients, drew the majority of the ASC’s attention based on operator surveys.

Data from the three largest civil S-92 operators—Bristow, CHC, and PHI, which together account for 61 percent of the fleet—revealed that 20 aircraft (13 percent of the fleet) are AOG while waiting for replacement main gearboxes. Three other operators reported another 11 S-92s are also AOG.

The overall AOG number is likely to double by the end of 2024 given Sikorsky’s low aircraft production rates—it delivered four S-92s in 2022. One operator reported that S-92 AOG days at the parts level increased from 214 in 2022 to 3,009 year-to-date.

Overall fleet dispatch reliability now hovers at 80 percent, as opposed to the industry average of 96 percent. The situation has triggered a variety of adverse maintenance practices, according to the ASC, including parts cannibalization, up by 50 percent to 106 percent, with more than 50 parts being taken from an aircraft entering maintenance “not uncommon.”

Maintenance extension requests to the OEM have increased by an average of 850 percent year-to-date. The time to complete a 1,500-hour inspection has increased by 75 percent (to 75 days), requiring 25 percent more manpower, and triggered a 57 percent increase in overtime.

The ASC concluded that the climate created the “potential and conditions for a serious safety event that is clearly growing unless action is taken.” Operators are forced into contracts that apply “punitive financial penalties for not meeting aircraft availability targets.”

According to the ASC, such provisions “will not improve availability, but will worsen the operators’ position further and potentially add further stress and risk to their maintenance departments.” It predicted that S-92 parts availability “has the potential to deteriorate further in the coming 12 months, leading to further reductions in aircraft availability.”

IOGP reiterated operator “resilience strategies” suggested earlier in the year, including raising stakeholder awareness and transparency, temporary sharing of contracted aircraft assets, and not punitively adding to operational risks via contract penalty clauses.

The ASC concluded that “effective local action and engagement between individual clients and contracted operators is essential if the safety risks are to be mitigated and our normal very high levels of safety performance maintained.”

Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said the OEM was working diligently to resolve supply chain issues, significantly increasing main gearbox production and assisting its own suppliers with resolving bottlenecks. He partially attributed the issue to a post-Covid surge in S-92 flying hours, which increased by a fifth.

In a statement provided to AIN, Lemmo said the company is taking various actions to address the “unprecedented” S-92 spares situation, in part driven by a “22 percent increase in S-92 aircraft flight hours over the last three years. This increased utilization has added to the fleet operating hours but also created more pressure on parts required.”

“Sikorsky experts have provided S-92 suppliers technical and operational support so they can accelerate delivery of parts,” he added. The company “has been assisting S-92 suppliers throughout all tiers of the supply chain to source specialty metals, components, and other raw material.”

Lemmo said these efforts were beginning to produce results, noting that “we have increased main gearbox output by 40 percent in 2023 compared to 2022. We have delivered 31 year-to-date and project providing 40 in 2023 versus 28 delivered in 2022.” He said Sikorsky “will continue these efforts for as long as it takes to accelerate delivery of the parts our customers need.”

His comments built on remarks made by Sikorsky executives speaking at Heli-Expo earlier this year. Leon Silva, Sikorsky’s executive v-p of global, commercial, and military systems, admitted that ongoing supply chain problems had dragged down S-92 fleet utilization rates and dispatch reliability percentages “into the high eighties.”

He said the company “continues to work diligently on the supply chain” and had established what amounts to an emergency center at Sikorsky’s Trumbull, Connecticut facility to work with suppliers to resolve issues.

Aside from ongoing supply chain woes, Sikorsky’s commitment to the civil market remains suspect after the company was acquired by defense contractor Lockheed Martin in 2015. It has discontinued production of the S-76 rather than manufacture it with a federally-mandated crash-resistant fuel system.

Earlier this year, Sikorsky announced it was shelving the S-92B program and moving the anticipated certification date of its A+ upgrade for the helicopter into 2025, some three years later than originally planned. As a result, deliveries of A+ kits ordered today will not happen until 2026.

Several helicopters in the installed fleet of more than 300 S-92s have nearly reached their 30,000-hour life limit, but Sikorsky has no plans to extend it. Though the company continues to accept orders for the $40 million S-92, it cannot deliver one for at least two to three years, it said.

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Unveiling the AOG Technics Scandal: Implications for the Aircraft MRO Industry

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In a recent development that has sent shockwaves throughout the aviation world, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Unapproved Parts Notification (UPN) on September 21, 2023, regarding a critical bushing part supplied by AOG Technics. The crux of the matter? This part lacked the essential FAA production approval, and associated documents were found to be “falsified.”

AOG Technics, known for its involvement in the aerospace spare parts industry, had supplied these questionable parts, raising concerns about the safety and the authenticity of components used in the aviation sector. Airplane parts suppliers and, especially, marketplaces for aerospace parts and supplies, play a crucial role in supporting the MRO sector, airplane operators, and the whole aviation industry in an unforeseen situation like such explains Toma Matutyte, CEO of Locatory.com in the following insightful article.

TAP Air Portugal, one of the major European flag carriers, was the first to raise the alarm early this Summer. They have discovered that some parts, namely, engine bushings, installed on CFM56 engines, were worn out significantly, despite having been documented as completely new. This led to the discovery of false documentation for the parts supplied by AOG Technics.

How The AOG Technics Scandal Unfolded

UK-based broker AOG Technics, a name that might have gone unnoticed in the vast realm of aerospace suppliers ever since the company was founded back in 2015, suddenly found itself in the spotlight. The FAA’s UPN demanded immediate action: the removal and quarantine of uncertified bushings to prevent their installation until their eligibility could be verified.After the London High Court issued a ruling, instructing AOG Technics to provide the record of its transactions with a supplier and to give more details on any CFM56 and CF6 parts it has sold along with the documentation for such parts, the company has gone completely silent.These parts had been used in CFM56 engines, a workhorse of aviation, frequently seen in older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

The CFM56 engine, manufactured by CFM International, has long held the title of the world’s best-selling aircraft engine. The ripple effect of this scandal is undeniable, but what does it signify for the MRO industry?

Implications for the Aircraft MRO Industry

The MRO industry’s ability to respond effectively will determine its resilience and continued trustworthiness in the eyes of airlines and passengers. There probably will be several implications, as the aviation MRO sector is poised for increased regulatory scrutiny and stricter compliance measures. Moreover, there could also be a quality assurance reassessment as MRO facilities will need to revisit their procedures and quality control principles. This leads further to the issue of the security of supply chains as MRO companies will need to collaborate with trusted suppliers and enhance supply chain transparency to prevent counterfeit parts from infiltrating the system.

Reputation is everything in the MRO industry. MRO companies may need to rebuild or reinforce their reputation, demonstrating their commitment to safety, quality, and compliance. Yet, those market players that adapt swiftly and demonstrate their commitment to safety and quality may find new business opportunities. Airlines and regulators will be seeking reliable partners in the MRO sector who can provide the highest levels of assurance and compliance.

The reminder of importance of reliable airplane parts suppliers and marketplaces

The AOG Technics scandal serves as a stark reminder of the critical role that MRO companies play in maintaining the safety and reliability of the aviation industry. While these developments present immediate challenges, they also offer opportunities for innovation and growth for MRO companies that can adapt to the evolving landscape of aviation safety and compliance.

The short-term implication, which is already manifesting itself, and is about to undoubtedly have further impact on the future of the whole sector, is the growing need for a timely supply of critical parts for the affected airplanes, which are crucial to keep them flying.

As the aviation industry embarks on this journey of introspection and reform, the MRO sector will stand at the forefront of ensuring that aircraft continue to fly safely and reliably. The implications of the AOG Technics scandal may have a scope big enough to reshape the MRO industry, with an enduring commitment to safety and mutual trust among the business partners within the sector.

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Rolls-Royce Open To The Idea Of An MRO Facility In India

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The engine maker announced a major deal with Air India earlier this year.

With India’s growing role within the global aviation space, aircraft and engine manufacturers are increasingly warming up to the idea of setting up local facilities in the country. Hundreds of new planes will arrive in the coming years, so the thought of setting up MRO facilities in India is no longer far-fetched. And Rolls-Royce is certainly open to the possibility!

Open to Indian MRO facility

Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is carefully eyeing the aviation scene in India, stating it is open to the idea of setting up maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in the country if there’s a good enough business case for it.

Kishore Jayaraman, president – India and South Asia, Rolls-Royce India, spoke with Financial Express and said the company could explore MRO options in India. He did suggest that several factors would need to be considered as setting up such a facility would require a considerable investment.

All about aircraft numbers

India’s aviation boom in the last decade and a half has seen hundreds of airplanes being inducted into the fleets of several national-level airlines. But with Air India in the process of receiving a massive makeover and IndiGo scaling up massively, discussions about local aerospace facilities in India have gained momentum.

Rolls-Royce already has MRO facilities in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China in Asia, but it’s Air India’s order of its engines earlier this year that has sparked fresh interest from the organization.

In February, the engine maker announced an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, plus options for 20 more. Rolls-Royce added that it was the “biggest ever order for the Trent XWB-97, which exclusively powers the Airbus A350-1000.”

Additionally, Air India ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900. The airline recently showed off its first A350 in the new livery and expects to start operations with the type in the coming months. Jayaraman commented,

MRO scope in India

India’s aviation minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, has expressed interest in setting up more MRO facilities in the country. In 2021, he even announced several policy changes to attract investments. These included increasing the allotment of land for such projects and having open tenders for land allotment, among other things.

Indian airlines mainly send their aircraft to other countries for maintenance, repairs, and scheduled checks. Scindia has highlighted that India only holds a tiny 2.5% share of the mammoth $80 billion global aircraft maintenance industry, and he would like this figure to change. Hopefully, there’s enough value for aerospace companies to consider such opportunities in India.

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MRO efficiency centers on the reliability and versatility of engine stands

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The aviation industry encompasses countless aircraft models with a wide array of engines. Distinct engine configurations, sizes, and designs power each aircraft type. In the ever-evolving world of aviation, one crucial element often goes unnoticed – engine stands. These unsung heroes of Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) operations play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety, reliability, and efficiency of aircraft.

Engine stands, also known as aircraft engine maintenance stands, are specialized tools designed to support aircraft engines during MRO procedures. Engine stands demonstrate their true worth by showcasing remarkable versatility and adaptability, catering to the unique requirements of different.

The market for commercial MRO will be worth $1026.8 billion between 2023 and 2032. The largest portion of commercial MRO demand, 46%, or around $468.6 billion, is for engine maintenance work. Modifications and airframe heavy will see demand of about $76 billion and $56 billion, respectively, while components and line maintenance account for 22% and 20%, respectively. The Boeing 737-800 airplane will have the largest engine maintenance requirement over the next ten years, totalling about $55.8 billion. Meanwhile, over the following ten years, demand for Airbus A320 aircraft will be roughly $52.3 billion.

Engine supports are made to safely carry a variety of different engines, including turbofan engines used in commercial jetliners, turboprop engines in regional planes, jet engines in military fighters, and radial engines in historical aircraft. Some engines may even be rotated vertically or horizontally, which can save time and effort when performing difficult MRO tasks.

For maintenance crews, engine stands are indispensable. They allow technicians to get up close and personal with the engine, enabling them to perform inspections, repairs, and replacements efficiently and safely. Many engine stands are also equipped with wheels or casters, allowing easy engine movement within the maintenance facility. In the fast-paced aviation maintenance environment, every second counts, and engine stands are essential tools for saving precious time.

Efficiency in aircraft maintenance is essential to minimize Aircraft on Ground (AOG) incidents, reduce operational costs, and maintain optimal fleet performance. Engine stands are pivotal in streamlining maintenance procedures, empowering technicians to work with precision and expediency.

Enginestands, a leading global provider of leasing services for aircraft engine stands and equipment is well positioned to further lend its expertise in the industry. In fact, Enginestands is poised for sustained business success with an array of strategic initiatives in its pipeline. “There is tremendous growth potential for us. We are slated to establish new operational bases on various continents, augment our range of engine stand models with a focus on narrow-body aircraft, reinforce our presence in the wide-body category, and enrich our tool inventory to encompass equipment essential for engine on or off-wing positioning,” Toma Matutyte, CEO of Enginestands outlined.

As a subsidiary of Avia Solutions Group, one of the world’s largest ACMI providers, operating a fleet of 192 aircraft, and supported by 11,500 highly skilled aviation professionals, operating in 68 countries worldwide Enginestands will continue to deliver solutions to its valued clientele and further redefine industry standards in the competitive aviation landscape as MRO activities intensify and the industry continues its upward direction.