MTU Maintenance expects a steady, and possibly expanding, aftermarket for GE Aviation’s CF6-80C2. Because of “strong and unexpected market demand,” the engine MRO is considering adding capacity to service the engine at another MTU Maintenance shop location, according to Hans-Dieter Reimann, director-engine programs at MTU Maintenance. That would increase flexibility and throughput for the engine that powers legacy widebodies such as the Boeing 747-400, 767, MD 11 and the Airbus A310. Growing passenger boardings and surging air cargo volumes have kept those aircraft operating beyond their originally projected retirements.

A specialist in medium and large commercial engines, MTU Maintenance has maintained CF6-80C2 powerplants at its Hannover facility since 1989, with more than 1,800 shop visits to date.

Reimann says that MTU Maintenance is the leading independent MRO provider for the CF6-80C2, with a global market share of 16% in 2017—in terms of shop visits. Last year, the MRO had 75 shop visits for that engine, and a similar number in 2016.  However, he points out, the company plans to service “slightly higher numbers” going forward, if and when capacity is added.

“With lower retirement rates for CF6-80C2 powered aircraft, the availability of surplus material and engines has diminished, consequently creating a higher MRO demand for aging engines again,” he says. “The CF6-80C2 MRO market has been revived.”

As a GE Aviation licensee, MTU Maintenance holds repair licenses to perform all workscope on the CF6-80C2, including full overhaul and life-limited parts replacements.

“We also offer high-tech, EASA-approved repairs to significantly reduce high-material costs as well as extend on-wing times for our customers,” Reimann adds. “ One example is our ERCOateco (erosion-resistant coating for HPC airfoils), which reduces scrap rates, improves the durability of the hardware, and cuts specific fuel consumption (SFC) of the engines.

He also points out that the majority of MTU Maintenance’s mature engine customers--which includes CF6-80C2 operators--typically look at cutting MRO costs, rather than extending on-wing times, in the latter part of the engine lifecycle.

“To minimize costs, our mature engine program is tailored to the customer’s desired remaining period of operations,” and could include the use of used parts, customized builds focused on the engine’s remaining life, and engine leases or exchanges, says Reimann.    

 “Green time leased engines can be used to fulfill remaining operational periods, rather than scheduling a complete overhaul,” he points out.

Reimann stresses that specific customer requirements depend on many factors and can change over time, but are essentially a matter of fleet planning decisions and the time period for the engines to remain in service.