Despite reliability and spare parts issues, Southwest does not have any plans—at least for now—to replace the electro-mechanical cockpits on the 130 Boeing 737-300s and -500s it still flies. (Image: Southwest)
Analysts tracking the commercial aircraft turbine engine MRO market see a growth period for the industry from 2014 through 2023, although at a percentage rate in the low-to-mid-single digits.
According to data generated by Aviation Week analysts, the global value of the engine MRO market for 2014 is estimated at $20.3 billion, based on the in-service engine fleet of 63,000 for that year—including 3,952 new deliveries. Some aviation industry analysts project slightly higher numbers for the same period.
The proliferation of mobile devices and software that enables increasingly more complex data distribution and handling could lead to the most significant evolution in maintenance documents management since the transition from paper to electronic formats.
Boeing this fall will launch a line maintenance applications suite for mobile devices with an unidentified customer, following a year of development.
“Airlines are using more mobile technology every day, and the mobile platform is an ideal tool for mechanics to have the information when and where they need it, and to share that information with other experts or departments across the company,” says Elizabeth Holleman, a representative for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Digital Aviation Business, in Renton, Wash.
As airlines continue to watch engine expenses, MROs are being asked by their customers to design customized approaches to service and provide material solutions. The conversation is forcing MRO vendors to search for answers outside their facilities.
As airlines continue to watch engine expenses, MROs are being asked by their customers to design customized approaches to service and provide material solutions. The conversation is forcing MRO vendors to search for answers outside their facilities.“A decade ago, the focus of engine maintenance contracts was on supporting the customer—at the time of the shop visit,” says Kristin Kenny, director of Pay Per Hour Programs for Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Now, contracts must be structured to take into account a complete understanding of the customer's operation.”
Blowing sand in the Middle East and high levels of airborne particulate matter from industrial pollution in Asia are parts of the impetus behind a new generation of thermal barrier coatings (TBC) designed to better protect engine components and withstand corrosive elements.
TBC corrosion is becoming a growing issue, specifically attributable to the build-up of calcium magnesium aluminosilicates (CMAS).
As more nacelles are made of composites, their repair market is becoming quite diverse.
“Fleet transitions are adding complexity, failure modes vary as aircraft age, and operators are customizing work scopes to fit their needs,” says Meredith Siegfried, CEO of Nordam, a major nacelle OEM and repair specialist.
Siegfried says most of today's nacelle work stems from mature aircraft, which generally employ comparable technologies and materials, so today's primary focus is on doing the work faster and cheaper.
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