Unical, FTAI Acquire Miami-Based CFM56 Specialist

iAero Thrust, which will be rebranded as QuickTurn Engine Center, provides services related to CFM56 engine types.

Credit: iAero Thrust

U.S.-headquartered MRO provider Unical Aviation and FTAI Aviation, a provider of aircraft and engine leasing services, have partnered to jointly acquire the assets of Miami-based iAero Thrust from its iAero Group parent company.

The agreement was confirmed by the three parties in a statement released on Jan. 4. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Purported to be the only hospital maintenance and testing facility in the Americas region dedicated to CFM56 engine types, iAero Thrust’s assets and facilities in Florida will operate under the rebranded name of QuickTurn Engine Center.

Under the new ownership structure, both parties say the QuickTurn business will target the delivery of “industry leading turnaround times” for light shop visits by utilizing serviceable modules and used serviceable material. 

At full capacity, QuickTurn is expected to support 150 light shop visits and 300 engine tests annually and will also offer field maintenance services.

“QuickTurn complements our existing maintenance center The Module Factory with Lockheed Martin in Montreal where we build and supply high quality modules,” Joe Adams, FTAI Aviation CEO, says of the acquisition. 

The upturn in market demand for lighter engine MRO services increased during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years as financially conscious operators looked to put off expensive shop visits and full restoration work.

These market dynamics were a factor in Unical’s role in the acquisition, says the company’s CEO Sharon Green. “The timing is right for this partnership as market demand grows for light maintenance and module exchanges, which are cheaper and faster alternatives to traditional engine overhauls,” she says. 

Green adds that the partnership with FTAI represents a strong strategic fit when taking into consideration its CFM56 parts stock and further capability additions.

“We will continue pursuing opportunities to expand the services we provide our customers, both organically and through additional strategic investments,” Green adds. The deal for QuickTurn is Unical’s second since its acquisition by private equity company Platinum Equity in August 2021. 

In October 2022, the company took ownership of the component repair operation of CAVU Aerospace, a specialist in aircraft asset management, disassembly and recycling services.

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.