Florida Engine Shop Expands CFM56 Portfolio

GEM has further invested in the CFM56 aftermarket.
Credit: Global Engine Maintenance

Global Engine Maintenance (GEM) is to expand its CFM56 repair portfolio by adding services for the -5B variant from March.

The Doral, Florida-headquartered facility will commence services on the CFM56-5B engine variant, adding to its existing CFM56-3 and CFM56-7B services which comprise engine performance restorations, hospital visits, module repairs and swaps, and piece part overhauls. The latest addition to its MRO portfolio further cements its focus on the CFM56 family, following the ceasing of JT8D repairs last year. 

An option for multiple aircraft including the Airbus A320 classic, Boeing 737 classic and older variants of the A340, the CFM56-5B aftermarket is expected to have longevity. By 2030, Aviation Week Fleet & MRO Forecast data expects more than 5,600 engine units to be in service.

“The expansion into CFM56-5B engine repairs was a natural extension of our CFM56-7B program with some unique tooling requirements and plenty of reuse tools,” says Jamie Devin, GEM’s director of business development. This was factored into some of the company’s investments in equipment and machinery, such as a high-speed grinder--purchased with the understanding that it could operate on all series of CFM engines as well as any variants models such as tech insertion and time on wing.  

GEM expanded into CFM56-7B repairs in 2015, following a certification and ramp up process that took around 18 months. The -5B’s commonality with the -7B meant the process for its ramp up took less time, around one year. “The bulk of the effort was updating our ERP, building tools and training our technicians,” Devin says.

The company cross trains its staff on all CFM56 engine types, so it won’t be looking to recruit any more people specifically for this program. GEM also doesn’t see capacity being an issue, with its facility able to change the workspace to a double bay configuration if necessary.  

Over the next 12 months, GEM expects operators to watch their MRO spending closely and this could limit the growth of the CFM aftermarket in the short-term. “While we believe green-time engines will be a larger presence in the market, there will still be work required to bring them out of storage, and in many cases operators and lessors will opt to conduct medium to light repairs at that time," says Devin.

Like many MROs, GEM is also giving greater prominence to the cargo market, one of the few segments to enjoy a boost over a turbulent past 12 months. “Many cargo operators, to keep their aircraft flying, have opted for exchanges on their unserviceable engines with ready-to-go off-the-shelf replacement engines. Going forward, we will continue to invest in in-house capabilities for repairs and in -3, -7B and soon -5B cores for engine sales,” Devin says.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.