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Engines power MTU's generation gain

Posted 19 September 2018 · Add Comment

MTU Maintenance sees good growth opportunities for MRO in the Middle East. Sami Ben-Kraiem, the company’s vice-president marketing and sales, Middle East and Southeast Asia, talks to Chuck Grieve.

With Middle East fleet growth forecast by global consulting and technology services compa-ny ICF to be around 7% over the next 20 years, MRO operators are looking at their sector developing alongside at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 5.6%.
This is approaching double the predicted global average CAGR of 3.1% – good news for MROs able to deal with changes such as the influx of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) into the aftermarket and the growing importance of leasing.
“The largest portion of MRO spend will be on engines, so this is a healthy market to be in,” said Sami Ben-Kraiem. It is “a key region” for MTU Maintenance, part of the MTU Aero Engines Group based in Hannover, Germany.
The MRO, which describes itself as the world’s largest independent provider of commercial engine maintenance, repair and overhaul services, plans to expand its regional sales force and on-site support services “to increase our proximity to customers”.
Ben-Kraiem noted the trend in the Middle East – as with elsewhere in the world – of OEMs increasing their presence in the aftermarket, especially for newer engine types.
The market is currently in a transition period from older and current generation aircraft to next generation. “We expect the majority of the engines in the newest aircraft generation to be un-der OEM contracts, in particular in the early years of operations.”
As the Middle East fleet has an above-average proportion of wide-bodies, MTU sees most of the expansion in MRO activities on engines such as the GE90 Growth, especially as these engines age and migrate from first to second-tier operators, both within and beyond the region. Ben-Kraiem added: “We have also been seeing strong demand for narrow-body engine ser-vices and are experiencing an increase in CFM56-5B and V2500 shop visits from the region to our facilities in Hannover and Zhuhai.
“Our focus in the coming years will also be on the V2500, CFM56-5B/-7 and the CF34-8/-10 engine families as they becomes more mature.”
For such assets, MTU Maintenance has a mature engine programme focusing on alternative MRO – such as repairs, used serviceable material and customised workscoping – as well as alternatives to MRO, such as green-time leasing.
Worldwide, more than 40% of today’s global commercial fleet is under operating lease, as investors increasingly own engines. It’s a trend that can also be seen in the Middle East, said Ben-Kraiem. Here, the share of fleets under operating lease has grown from 28 to 38% in the 10 years between 2007 and 2017.
He said MTU’s customers are showing “growing interest” in the company’s portfolio of lease services, which are tailored to the specific requirements of the Middle East region.
For example, MTU provides spare engine support with short-term leasing for engines such as the CFM56, V2500, CF34 and GE90, as well as longer-term services, including the sale and leaseback of high-value engines such as the GEnx and the GE90. These transactions are han-dled by Sumisho Aero Engine Lease BV, a joint venture between MTU Aero Engines and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.
Lessors, themselves, are becoming more actively interested in MRO and in managing their most valuable assets – engines. As a response to this, MTU Maintenance has been developing a portable MRO solution for both lessors and lessees.
“This solution reduces exposure for all parties and makes transitions between lessees easier and more cost-efficient by carrying MRO forward throughout the lifecycle,” said Ben-Kraiem.
MTU plans to add leasing specialists to its regional presence as part of the expansion of its sales team.
As another example of MTU Maintenance’s forward thinking, the company recognised the benefits to the customer of predictive maintenance through engine trend monitoring (ETM) and introduced its own independent ETM system more than 15 years ago.
The beauty of the system, which is based on engine data from flight operations and shop visits, is that it’s not restricted to a single engine type. “For example,” said Ben- Kraiem, “we can monitor a customer’s GE90 and V2500 fleet with the same tool. This is particularly helpful for engineers and technical managers – and unique in the industry.”
New features introduced recently to the system as part of its continual development and opti-misation include prediction of remaining on-wing time, automatic diagnostics and quick fleet analysis.
“The remaining on-wing time prediction is based on critical performance parameters like ex-haust gas temperature (EGT) margin,” said Ben-Kraiem. “Automatic diagnosis helps us iden-tify the root cause of a trend shift.
“The quick fleet analysis tool lets us review the on-wing deterioration by engine serial num-ber (ESN) and shop visit effects.
“There are tangible benefits for customers who have been using our ETM system for a num-ber of engine runs as this helps us understand the patterns that are unique to them. This, in turn, enables us to better plan shop visits and logistics and manage their fleets. As a result, we can create savings on parts for our customers and shorter turn times.”
Predictions of remaining on-wing time are particularly useful as they give fleet management staff ample notice of a removal, which allows them to search for suitable used parts with sig-nificant cost savings to the operator.
“This always works better the more access one has to fleet performance data and history,” said Ben-Kraiem. “We combine ETM with our engineering and workscope expertise to opti-mise solutions for our customers.
“Essentially, it’s always a holistic and highly customised process.”
 

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