AMES targets 737 nacelle work to fuel future growth

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Dubai-based engine nacelle MRO shop Aerostructures Middle East Services (AMES) is expanding its repair capabilities to include CFM International CFM56-7B powerplants as it targets double-digit growth over the coming years.

The 50:50 venture between Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) and Safran's Aircelle division has been servicing CFM56-5A/B nacelles for Airbus A320s since it opened in 2010. It subsequently expanded its capabilities to include the CFM56-5C engines that power the first-generation A340-200/300s.

However, the facility has been unable to tap into the sizeable market for work on current-generation Boeing 737s as previously it did not support CFM56-7B nacelles.

Repair capability for the latest iteration of the ubiquitous medium-thrust engine family is to be developed by June, says AFI's François Vitti, one of AMES' two general managers.

AMES has also been servicing Rolls-Royce Trent 700 nacelles for A330s since 2010, and Trent 500 nacelles for second-generation A340-500/600s since 2011. The two partners have also added overhaul capability for the General Electric GE90 and Engine Alliance GP7200.

But the 2,000m² (21,500ft²) facility is using only about two thirds of its capacity. Vitti expects that AMES will service around 40 nacelles in 2013 while it can support up to 60 units a year. The site has eight workstations for large engines and further eight stations for smaller powerplants.

The building should not need expansion until about 2017, says Vitti, even though AMES' custom is expected to grow by "more than 10% over the coming years".

CFM56-7B nacelles will play a key role in generating additional business. But the new repair capability will also be needed to replace work on other types, such as Trent 500s, which will disappear in future. Local operator Emirates, for example, plans the gradual phase-out of both its A330 and A340 fleets.