MRO provider StandardAero is initiating a long-term workforce training and expansion plan to gear up for what it expects will be a surge in CFM56 shop visits.

The company, which carried out maintenance, repairs and overhauls on 264 CF34 and CFM56-7B engines at its Plant 6 site in Winnipeg in 2011, is in talks with additional Boeing 737-600/700/800 operators to further expand its business.

Although StandardAero repaired CFM56-7Bs in previous years, it did not conduct its first complete overhaul until 2011. Since then the level of CFM56 work has grown rapidly and the mix of CFM56s and CF34s “is getting to the point where it will be 50/50,” says StandardAero CF34/CFM56 business unit programs director Oliver Albig.

Now, with a large part of the 737 Next Generation engine fleet coming within sight of its first major overhaul, Albig sees a potential surge in demand for services around 2015 to 2017. “So that means we’re just starting to spool up so we will be ready to rock,” says Albig who explains that a lead time of several years is required to adequately prepare for the spike.

To help it speed up training, StandardAero has teamed with Winnipeg’s Red River Community College to provide a steady stream of new mechanics and technicians. Two courses are provided annually with training of students taking place within the shop itself. “As we start spooling up with people it would take a year to get up to speed,” and the new process “shaves four to five months off that,” says CF34/CFM56 director of operations, Adam Gingras.

The company is also looking to increase the amount of CFM56 repair work it performs, and is negotiating “deals with some fleets,” says Albig, He adds that one of the first repairs the company developed was the replacement of damaged fan rub strips.

StandardAero is also “being aggressive” in its drive to work with brokers on the tear down of CF34s. Refurbished parts from torn down engines are cleaned, inspected and tagged and available to customers at 60% of the cost of a new part. “So if you are looking at a $2.7 million overhaul with full life-limited parts, it can bring that down by $300,000 to $500,000,” says Albig.

“A lot of Bombardier CRJ200s are coming out of service, mainly in Europe,” says Albig. “So a lot of people are taking advantage of that. If you pay around $2.5 million for the aircraft you get that back in the engine tear down alone. The volume still isn’t there yet, but we’re probably doing two or three tear downs every month.”

Part of the Dubai Aerospace Enterprises group, StandardAero continues to expand its other engine MRO activities, many of which are carried out in Winnipeg. Employing 1,400 at six sites in the Canadian city, the company services Rolls-Royce T56/2100s, M250s, as well as Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 and PW100s. It also services the GE LM1600 and Rolls 501K industrial engines.

Albig says in the future StandardAero is considering provision of services for new engines such as GE’s Passport, recently launched for Bombardier’s Global 7000/8000, and the CFM Leap series. “We haven’t considered the (P&W) geared turbofan yet, but we have to,” he adds.