Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance is readying its maintenance shops to start supporting the General Electric GEnx-1B engine within the next few months, says Ton Dortmans, executive vice-president of KLM Engineering & Maintenance.
“I expect that six months from now, we should be ready,” says Dortmans, noting that AFI-KLM still has to finalise negotiations with GE. “Six to nine months maximum, but our ambition is six months at the moment."
The maintenance firm is not expecting the engine to need full overhauls for the next six to eight years, he says. This more immediate capability in the coming months would be for “quick turns” that are much shorter than the full overhauls and used to improve performance and time on wing, says Dortmans. The turnaround time for these maintenance events are still to be determined for the GEnx, he says, however it takes about seven to 10 days on the GE90 engine powering the Boeing 777, he says.
As the first non-OEM maintenance firm in Europe to support the engine type, AFI-KLM E&M sees a big market for potential third party MRO customers, says Dortmans. GE provides its own MRO services for the GEnx at its Caledonian service facility in Prestwick, Scotland.
AFI-KLM E&M is also close to signing three new “big customers in the Far East and Europe” for its Boeing 787 component support programme, says Dortmans. The carrier has already signed Kenya Airways, LOT Polish Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines for the offering so far.
The maintenance provider is still deciding which maintenance shops will perform engineering and overhaul functions, says Dortmans. He notes that the firm is considering using its shops in both Paris and Amsterdam.
“What we’re looking at is to see where we can use our knowledge from both sides,” he says.
Air France-KLM chose the GEnx-1B to power its 787-9 fleet after about two years of long discussions with GE and competitor Rolls-Royce, says Dortmans.
Boeing will begin 787 deliveries to Air France and KLM in October 2015 and January 2017, respectively. The two carriers placed a firm order for 25 of the aircraft type in 2011, with another 25 options. The airlines will also lease 12 aircraft from ILFC.