May 14, 2018, © Leeham News: The engine problems are getting worse.
These have moved beyond the technical issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, GE Aviation GEnx, Pratt & Whitney GTF and CFM56.
The problems are trickling down to the maintenance, repair and overhaul shops.
LNC previously touched on the back-up in MRO shops due to the RR Trent 1000 problems, affecting even Trent 700 (Airbus A330) MRO scheduling. We’ve also reported the knock-on effect of the GTF MRO on other engine shop visits.
The mandated-inspections of CFM56 fan blades in the wake of the Southwest Airlines accident last month inundated MRO shops with unexpected visits.
Now, a European appraisal company forecasts that the “bow wave” of CFM56 shop visits will create a crisis for spare engines and parts.
“IBA forecasts that the engine lease market will be unable to meet critical demand for spare engines and parts as bow wave of shop visits for the CFM56-7B and-5B hits,” the company said last week.
“The engine lease market will not be able to support the 25-35% increase in shop visit rates forecast for CFM56-7B and -5B engines and continuing strong demand for V2500’s in the period 2019-2024,” IBA wrote. “There is currently very limited availability of spares and unless more spare engines are generated by retirements and aircraft teardowns, or airline held spare stock absorbs some of the demand, IBA expects engine inductions and longer turnaround times (TATs) will create a log jam further intensified by the impact of compound shop visits.”
TATs for Trent 700 and GE90 engines powering the A330 and Boeing 777 have balloon by months, market intelligence says, as MRO shops are overwhelmed by demand, exacerbated by the special problems in the market today.
The increasing trend toward power by the hour (PBH) agreements adds to the backlog.
The engine OEMs have long considered MRO and after-market parts as a profit center. Selling engines, especially in a competitive situation (which is increasingly rare), typically comes at a steep discount. Engines on the Airbus A380 saw discounts of 80%. I know of one case in the MD-11 days in which the winning OEM gave the engines away in exchange for the MRO contract.
Pratt & Whitney and CFM want MRO contracts with every GTF and LEAP deal they do, whether it’s on the competitive A320neo or the sole-source 737 MAX.
The market is in general agreement that despite PW’s current (and excruciating long-running) problems with the GTF, it will eventually be a good engine. The LEAP likewise will be good, but there are some teething problems and its on-wing time initially will be less than the CFM56, an engine that despite the blade issues in 2016 and last month, is a phenomenally durable and reliable engine.
PW and CFM each pursued MRO contracts and now, with the warranties, are on the hook. These responsibilities also put pressure on the MRO shops.
The emergency inspections required by the US FAA and Europe’s EASA on the CFM56 following the Southwest accident illustrates only a fraction of the problems. Here in the Seattle area, there was an unexpected and steady stream of Southwest 737s into Everett’s Paine Field where MRO ATS is located. In just one weekend, there were more than a dozen Southwest airliners on the ground. This picture was repeated throughout the country.
Although the inspection requirements are short-lived, the underlying problems are not.
The GEnx icing problems are years old and there’s no end in sight. RR says its Trent 1000 issues won’t be fully resolved until about 2022. PW puts final resolution for the GTF at 2021. There’s no estimate when the TATs for the Trent 700 and GE90 will get back to normal.