Southwest Picks iAero Thrust for CFM56 MRO Services

iAero Thrust's new engine test cell facility
Credit: iAero Thrust

Southwest Airlines has selected Miami-based iAero Thrust to perform engine MRO and test services on the CFM56 engines powering its Boeing 737NG fleet.

Under the new MRO services agreement, iAero Thrust will provide on-demand hospital repair, on-wing support and test services to the airline over the next three years.

iAero Group CEO Robert Caputo says the agreement is “a testament to our team building out and executing our CFM56 MRO and test capabilities over the past year.” The company made the strategic decision to focus on CFM56 engine models in early 2021, selling off its surplus Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 engine assets to Heritage Global Partners and Cloud Investment Partners.

It also opened a new engine test cell facility in Medley, Florida in Oct. 2021, which provides comprehensive engine testing and hospital visit services for the CFM56 engine line. The facility will test all engines serviced through iAero Thrust in Miami, as well as engines from third party MROs, lessors and other engine operators.

In addition to engine testing and hospital visits, iAero Thrust provides engine overhaul, component repairs, module repairs and swaps, and AOG support for CFM56-7B and CFM56-3 engines. It holds FAA and EASA Part 145 approval.

According to Aviation Week’s Fleet & MRO Forecast, Southwest currently operates a fleet of 579 737NGs. In Dec. 2021 it stated plans to retire 28 737-700s to make way for new 737 MAX aircraft orders. It is planning to grow its fleet by about 85 aircraft this year and to retire 30-35 aircraft per year as part of a fleet refreshment.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.