Fast 5: State of TAP M&E’s Engine Business
Filipe Morais de Almeida, TAP Maintenance & Engineering VP of marketing and sales, talked with Aviation Week editor Lee Ann Shay about how the Portuguese airline MRO is building back its business.
How is TAP Maintenance & Engineering’s business? Is it ramping up?
Yes, things are ramping up but not at the rate we forecasted earlier in the pandemic—but they are trending in a positive way. We are adding CFM LEAP-1A engine MRO capability and are in the process of getting it certified. We just finished disassembling the first one for a third party and it’s going well. We expect to certify the quick-turn module disassembly by the end of November. But we expect to do the first full overhaul in about two years, so in the meantime, we are doing quick turns until we reach that level of maintenance demand.
There has been a lot of news lately about new capabilities or engine hospital visits and quick-turn services.
That’s correct. The market adjusted and many [operators] are postponing shop visits, so the quick-turns and field teams have been very popular during the pandemic to fulfill the market needs for these difficult times.
The use of green-time engines and when that will run out has been the topic of many conversations, too.
At a certain point that will run out for sure, and MROs are ready and waiting for these times to come. Of course, like others, we had to adjust our workforce like others did—it was mandatory—but it was important in our case that we could keep the know-how and key people in place to resume in the future. I think this was a very important decision by our management.
Are you concerned about increases in parts’ prices and lead times?
That is a general problem for aviation and industries in general. Raw material prices have increased, as have fuel prices and other factors. This is a sign of the times.
TAP M&E does all of TAP’s engine maintenance, right?
Yes, we work on all of our engines, and that accounts for about one-third of our activity. We sell two-thirds of our Lisbon engine shop to third parties. These are 2019 figures, but we hope that percentage will remain as the industry recovers.