LOTAMS Identifies Demand For High-Cycle Widebody Check

The Polish MRO completed the heavy check during the summer months.
Credit: LOTAMS

Polish MRO provider LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services (LOTAMS) has performed what it says is the first 50,000 flight-cycle check on a Boeing 767.

The heavy check, first reported in Aviation Week in October, was completed over the summer, took five months and involved replacement of main landing gears and both engines, removal and repair of rudders and flaps, structural repairs and non-destructive testing (NDT).

The identity of the late-life aircraft was not revealed, nor whether it was a passenger of freighter variant, though it should be noted that Polish flag carrier LOT has phased out its 767 fleet.

In November, Aviation Week reported that LOTAMS had extended a heavy maintenance deal with Portuguese carrier Euroatlantic Airways and performed a C check on a 767. Euroatlantic has five 767-300ERs in its fleet.

The more interesting question is how the economics of such a late-life check, which involved the considerable expense of a double-engine replacement, stack up against the hugely depressed market for second-hand widebody aircraft.

If the 767 in question was a freighter then perhaps the booming cargo market warranted the heavy check given difficulties in sourcing alternative lift at relatively short notice, but in the passenger market one would expect numerous deals to be had for used equipment of earlier vintage.

Indeed, financial sources note that prices are so low for certain aircraft that certain aircraft funds are buying them up with little expectation that they will see service for a year or more.

For its part, LOTAMS appears confident that it will perform more high-cycle checks on 767s.

“The knowledge and experience gained during this check will allow us to much better and more efficient execution of services of this order soon, said Marcin Klukowski, base maintenance manager at LOTAMS.

He added: “We are confident that the aircraft will fly many more hours and cycles thanks to our service.”

Alex Derber

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