Will AFI KLM E&M Follow Parent Into LEAP-1A?

AFI KLM E&M lists its current capabilities as covering LEAP-1A and -1B line maintenance, and -1B overhauls.
Credit: Philippe-Stroppa

Air France-KLM recently entered exclusive negotiations with CFM to supply LEAP-1A engines for the group’s Airbus A320neo-family aircraft.

The move was unsurprising, given that the group already uses CFM equipment on its A320ceo and Boeing 737NG aircraft, and that one half of the CFM alliance is French OEM Safran Aircraft Engines.

However, it will be interesting to see if national solidarity extends to securing Safran the most lucrative part of any engine contract—an aftermarket support deal. 

This would appear unlikely, given that as far back as 2017, the airline group’s maintenance arm—AFI KLM E&M—was expanding its maintenance service to encompass LEAP variants for both the A320neo and 737 Max.

However, the company’s current capabilities, according to its website, do not encompass overhauls for the -1A variant that powers the A320neo family. Last December, Air France-KLM ordered 100 A320neo-family aircraft plus 60 options.

AFI KLM E&M lists its current capabilities as covering LEAP-1A and -1B line maintenance, and -1B overhauls.

Aviation Week Network’s Fleet & MRO Forecast 2022 predicts that LEAP-1B engine maintenance will be worth roughly half of that for the -1A over the next 10 years: $5.8 billion to the -1A’s $10.8 billion.

Given those sums and its parent’s preference for the LEAP-1A, it seems likely that AFI KLM E&M will add a -1A overhaul capability.

It certainly has time to do so, as the relatively new engine will not command serious maintenance market for a few years still—the data shows almost zero -1A heavy maintenance over the next year, rising to about $250 million worth in 2023 and about $550 million in 2026.

Most of the Air France-KLM group requirements for -1A overhauls will occur even later than that.

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…