UK-Based GTES Looks To Bolster Leap Engine Capabilities
Engine specialist GT Engine Services has confirmed the extension of its maintenance capabilities to cater for CFM International’s Leap -1A engine at its facility close to London Stansted Airport and is looking to add -1B offerings in the near future.
The UK-based MRO was first approved for the engine type by the country’s CAA regulator in January 2020 and has spent the past year ramping up capabilities.
Services for the -1A engine type, which powers the Airbus A320neo aircraft, will mostly mirror those offered on by GTES on the Leap’s CFM56 predecessor. These include end of lease checks, borescope, preservation work, fan blade lubrication and QEC build capabilities.
However, there will be a few services available on the CFM56 excluded from GTES’s Leap offering initially. “At this time, we will not have module replacement or compressor blade repair on the Leap, but that will come later on,” says Greg Macleod, GTES’s managing director.
“With the construction of the compressor, we can no longer carry out top-case repairs like on the CFM56, so we are looking at compressor repairs and their viability,” he adds. The company says it is currently working on achieving regulatory approval for the -1B variant.
Cost of entry for an independent shop like GTES came with several challenges, Macleod says. ““There is a high cost of entry for an independent shop, to be able to carry out the full maintenance suite on the Leap,” he explains.
“This manifests itself not only with tooling, also training, manuals and spares purchasing. Most of which at this early stage is controlled by the OEM, but we are realists they have to recoup their investments and Leap work will command a higher premium.”
GTES carries out maintenance and storage services on a mix of narrowbody and widebody engine types which in addition to the CFM models, include Pratt & Whitney’s GTF and PW4000, the CF6 and CF34 and Rolls-Royce’s Trent 700.
Macleod says the CFM56 will continue to play an important role in the company. “We see the CFM56-5B and 7B as an important part of our business plan going forward, and have invested heavily over the last few years and see ourselves ideally positioned to continue operating these efficiently and where we can negate the need for major shop visits,” he says.
In a year which as the seen the industry severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and particularly the engine segment faced with high volumes of cancelled or deferred shop visits, GTES says its revenues remained robust. In 2020, Macleod says the company saw turnover increase by 48%.