AFI KLM E&M Rides Cargo Boom With GE90 Deal

Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance announced a new long-term deal to support the GE90 engines on China Airlines’ Boeing 777F aircraft.
Credit: AFI KLM E&M

The airlines that have proved most protected from the rigours of the Covid-19 pandemic are those with large cargo operations.

Freight yields were up roughly 50% in 2020 and remain strong this year due to the reduction of bellyhold capacity on passenger flights.

Many carriers have rushed to perform temporary conversions of idling passenger into freight movers, but it is those with large dedicated cargo operations that have reaped the biggest rewards – as have their aftermarket providers.

New engine maintenance contracts have been thin on the ground since early 2020, but this week Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance announced a new long-term deal to support the GE90 engines on China Airlines’ Boeing 777F aircraft.

Under the flight-hour based deal, AFI KLM E&M will provide MRO services, spare engine support and on-wing and on-site support, while the Taiwanese flag carrier will also tap into the Prognos predictive maintenance solution.

China Airlines was a in a good position to make the deal, having been one of very few airlines to post a profit in 2020, which was down almost entirely to its cargo operation.

“Thanks to a strategy of prioritising cargo over passenger services, China Airlines was able to stay profitable and achieve a new milestone,” said airline chairman Su-Chien Hsieh following the positive annual result. 

Helping to secure Air France-KLM’s first contract in Taiwan was also the fact that it and China Airlines are Skyteam partners. 

“We worked closely and transparently with them to get a better understanding of each party's expectations,” said Wang Houng, senior vice-president China Airlines Engineering & Maintenance, adding: “We are confident that this understanding, combined with AFI KLM E&M's expertise and skills in GE90 maintenance, will contribute positively to the effectiveness of the support we will be offered.”

Alex Derber

Alex Derber is a UK-based aviation journalist and editor of the Engine Yearbook. He contributes regular features, news and opinion pieces about the…