American Airlines plans to bring overhaul work on the CFM56-5B engine in-house, the airlines’ senior vice president-integrated operations confirmed late last year. David Seymour said the work from its GE engine partners be brought to its base in Tulsa, Oklahoma once the contract expires in October 2018. It expects to input 45 CFM56-5B engines per year once the capability is ready.
United States - $143.7 Billion
Credit: Delta TechOps
The United States is the region and the world's largest MRO market by spend, with $143.7 billion expected to be generated over the next 10 years, according to Aviation Week Network's 2021 Commercial Fleet & MRO Forecast. By fleet size, it also edges out China--with more than 5,700 aircraft estimated to be in the U.S. commercial fleet by 2030, compared to China's 5,500.
3-Southwest Adds MRO Capacity
Southwest Airlines, the low-cost carrier operating more than 700 aircraft, plans to further grow its MRO capacity in order to service its expanding fleet by building a new hangar at Houston Hobby airport. Once open in late 2019, the new 240,000sq-ft hangar will have space for six Boeing 737 aircraft and will include aircraft wash facilities on the apron outside, taxiway connections, parking and loading docks, as well as offices and parts storage areas.
4-United’s Mix Of Old And New
United Airlines, through its United Airlines TechOps division, is mixing its focus between some its older and newer fleet, among other things. Speaking to MRO-Network.com in summer 2017, Don Wright, United VP maintenance operations, said the division has put a lot of emphasis on fleet health and fleet reliability, particularly on some of the older fleets such as its 767-300s. It has also ramped up its MRO operation in areas such as tooling and equipment for deliveries of the 737 MAX and 787-10.
5-JetBlue Targets New Technologies
New York-based airline JetBlue has championed new hangar innovations in recent years, ranging from introducing tablets to its maintenance technicians to forming a technology start-up investor arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures. As it anticipates ramping up its fleet to more than 300 aircraft, the carrier has launched its Tech Ops 300 program. By adopting new technology platforms such as mobile devices, the program will ultimately aim to drive down operating costs, deliver better efficiencies and enhance high fleet utilization and reliability.
6-Alaska Anticipates Virgin America Fleet
Alaska Airlines finalized its acquisition of fellow U.S. carrier Virgin America in 2016 and following the merger will see an influx of all of Virgin America’s Airbus A319s, A320s and soon-to- be-delivered A321neos. Speaking in Inside MRO last year, Kurt Kinder, Alaska’s vice president for maintenance and engineering, said the airline group was preparing to take on the increased scope of maintenance work. “We are setting up a robust cross-training program so mechanics are ready to support a mixed fleet at stations across our network,” he said.
7-Hawaiian Airlines Sees Aftermarket Savings
In its MRO operation, Hawaiian Airlines said the introduction of new Airbus A321neo in January 2018 presented an opportunity for it to go to market and rework existing MRO deals. "We've been able to get a new benchmark in the industry because we were out soliciting bids for the A321neo," the carrier’s CCO Jonathan Snook stated at an investors’ conference late last year. "We were able to apply that knowledge to existing contracts for our existing fleet types in renegotiation and we concluded those agreements, and those agreements are yielding about $15 million a year annually for existing fleet types through those renegotiated contracts."
Some of the airlines featured in this article will be appearing at Aviation Week Network's MRO Americas, which takes place in Orlando from Apr. 10-12.