Widebody Engine MRO JV In Poland To Freeze Operations

Credit: GE Aviation

The reduction in global widebody flying is prompting GE Aviation and Lufthansa Technik to “freeze” their engine joint venture in Poland.

The XEOS joint venture facility in Sroda Slaska, near Warsaw, opened in September 2019 to provide MRO services for two widebody aircraft engine types: the GEnx-2Bs and GE9Xs.

The GEnx-2Bs, which power the 747-8, have logged fewer flight hours because of a decrease in passenger long-haul flying during the pandemic. XEOS also saw fewer shop visits in 2020 from this engine because GE Aviation’s engineering team has incorporated durability improvements, which keeps the engine on-wing longer.

The GE9X, the powerplant for the Boeing 777X, experienced durability problems early on so its certification got pushed to 2020. Boeing’s delivery schedule for the 777X was also delayed because its certification is getting extra scrutiny due to the problems with the 737MAX and because of development issues with the new all-composite wing. The FAA certified the GE9X in 2020 and Boeing hopes to gain certification for the 777X in early 2022, which would be two years behind schedule.

Fewer shop visits for both engines was not good news for XEOS. The 350,000-sq.-ft. facility was designed to ramp up to 200 engines per year by 2023. GE and Lufthansa Technik invested more than $250 million in the facility.

“XEOS employs 220 people and they all will be affected by the operation freeze,” a GE Aviation representative said. XEOS management will be talking with trade unions over the next few days and the full freeze should be completed by the first quarter of 2022, according to the companies.

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.