MRO Memo: Pratt, GE Strengthen Asia Ties

Pratt & Whitney is expanding its Eagle Services Asia business in Singapore.

Credit: Pratt & Whitney

Thai Airways has confirmed that it will use GEnx-1B engines to power its new order of 45 Boeing 787 aircraft, having until now used Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s for its existing fleet of 787, most of which are leased.

The switch may be linked to reports that Thai was struggling to reach a maintenance agreement with Rolls-Royce, which usually pushes hard to tie its engine order to long-term service deals. 

GE Aerospace’s press release about Thai’s GEnx selection makes no mention of a maintenance deal, although these are sometimes announced at a later date.

Separately, the OEM did announce that it would upgrade its Singapore engine repair facility into a ‘Smart Factory’ that will introduce automated inspection systems; new processes such as net shape airfoil robotic polishing, net shape airfoil adaptive machining, and robotic airfoil leading-edge re-reprofiling; and digitalization improvements around robotics, cloud storage and data analytics.

The facility at Seletar Aerospace Park is being upgraded in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board, in order to meet surging growth in component demand, GE Aerospace said.

Another U.S. OEM, Pratt & Whitney, is also beefing up its capabilities in Singapore, having announced that the Geared Turbofan (GTF) maintenance capacity of its Eagle Services Asia joint venture will be expanded by two-thirds this year.

Pratt also announced new orders at the Singapore air show, with Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific sticking with the GTF for 15 additional Airbus A320neo-family aircraft. The airline already has 33 GTF-powered Neos in service, and will receive the additional aircraft from 2025.

Cebu still uses CFM equipment on 17 A320ceo aircraft, in support of which it signed a three-year extension of its GE TrueChoice overhaul agreement.

Meanwhile, the GTF had another much-need vote of confidence from Chilean low-cost carrier Jetsmart, which first selected the engine to power 70 A320neo-family aircraft in 2019. The airline will stick with the GTF for an extra 35 Neos, and has also signed an ‘EngineWise Comprehensive’ service agreement with Pratt & Whitney.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.

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