Copa Airlines to Upgrade 737NG Wheels and Brakes

Panama-based Copa Airlines will retrofit its fleet of Boeing 737NG aircraft with new wheels and carbon brakes from Collins Aerospace. According to Collins, the deal is the largest wheel and carbon brake upgrade it has ever performed for a Latin American airline, although it is not disclosing financial terms of the contract.

Collins’ 737NG brake features its Duracarb carbon friction material, which it says operates with lower brake fluid temperatures for safer operation and longer life cycle. According to Collins, the material delivers an average 35% longer brake life over competing carbon materials and enables decreased maintenance time and increased cost savings.

The brakes’ lighter weight will also help to reduce fuel burn. The 737NG brake also includes Collins’ HTx oxidation system, which it says provides thermal oxidation protection and resistance to damage from runway deicers.

“As one of the largest airlines in Latin America operating many long-haul flights on our Boeing 737-800, we need wheels and brakes that are dependable and a service provider with a worldwide support network we can count on,” says Rafael Samudio, vice president, technical operations, Copa Airlines. “Collins provides us not only both, but also with an opportunity to improve in our cost control efforts.”

Collins says it now supplies carbon wheels and brakes for Copa’s entire fleet of 737 aircraft, including the 737 MAX. Copa chose Collins’ carbon wheels and brakes for the 737 MAX in 2018.

Copa is the midst of performing the retrofit work at its own facilities and expects to complete the project by the end of 2021.

The airline is also in the process of retrofitting its 737s with Honeywell’s air separation module, which reduces fuel tank flammability risks. The airline became the first announced customer for the fuel tank safety system component in early August.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.