Freighter Engine Maintenance Holds Firm

Aviation Week estimates $600 million of maintenance demand on freighter-borne engines like the PW4000 next year.
Credit: Pratt & Whitney

Roughly half of all Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines now power cargo aircraft, a comforting statistic during the pandemic for MRO providers with capabilities on the engine.

“The PW4000 volume at SR Technics has not seen the decline compared to narrowbody engine types,” says Jay Aiken, vice-president business development Americas at SR Technics, in an interview with Engine Yearbook 2022.

Gijs Gielen, associate director aftermarket marketing at Pratt & Whitney, agrees. “On the PW4000-94, we saw flat shop visits and even slightly increased demand,” he notes.

Other freighter engine maintenance providers report a similar experience.

GE Evergreen Engine Services, a Taiwan-based joint venture between GE Aviation and EGAT, manages engine overhauls from within the GE global network of overhaul shops and focuses on the CF6-80 found on 747F, 767F and MD11F aircraft and GEnx engines powering 747-8F aircraft. 

“We saw cargo engine work being much less impacted by the market downturn, with inductions remains relatively stable throughout Covid-19 compared to the passenger fleet,” a spokesperson tells EYB 2022. 

Aviation Week’s Fleet & MRO forecast predicts that freighter engine maintenance demand will rise from $6.4 billion in 2022 to $7.6 billion in 2025, and then hovering around $7 billion annually for the rest of the decade.

For the PW4000 itself, the data shows around $600 million of maintenance demand on freighter-borne engines next year, rising to a high this decade of around $1 billion in 2025.

For a full evaluation of the freighter engine maintenance both during and after the pandemic, see our special feature in Engine Yearbook 2022.

Alex Derber

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