ITR sees future in small engine MRO

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Spain's Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) is looking to expand the capabilities of its Mexican overhaul shop, Industria de Turborreactores (ITR), beyond the Pratt & Whitney JT8D series, but this will likely focus on smaller engines.

While the JT8D still generates good business, according to ITP chief executive Ignacio Mataix, the market for the legacy type is limited and ITR will need to introduce capabilities for newer engines to keep its engine maintenance operations in Querétaro.

Mataix says that ITP is evaluating which powerplants the facility could support in future, however this will probably mean walking away from commercial aircraft engine overhaul. "Our strength lies more in smaller engines [in other words] turboprop, turboshaft and business aircraft engines," he says. "For the future, we are looking more towards that type rather than larger engines."

ITP, which is co-owned by Spanish engineering group Sener (53%) and Rolls-Royce (47%), overhauls military helicopter engines at its facility in Madrid. The company's AeroMaritime America shop in Mesa, Arizona has specialised in Rolls-Royce model 250 turboprop and turboshaft engines, but also plans to introduce a capabilty for Pratt & Whitney PW200 powerplants.

Although refusing to rule out undertaking work on engines for large commercial aircraft, such as the International Aero Engines V2500 series, Mataix says ITP sees greater value in supporting smaller engines at the moment.

The company believes the MRO market for small engines offers a large potential for growth. The market is fragmented and ITP only claims a small share of this at present.

However, Mataix says it is too early to specify a timeline for the development of new capabilities.

Earlier this year, ITP restructured its Querétaro plant into three separate companies as part of a four-year global strategic plan.

ITR handles engine maintenance, ITP Ingeniería y Fabricación (ITP I&F) focuses on engineering services as well as the production of engine casings and seals for the parent's subassembly facility in Zamudio, near Bilbao, Spain. Meanwhile, Industria de Tuberías Aeronáuticas Mexico (ITAM) specialises in manufacturing tubing.

While the three divisions continue to operate from their shared facilities, the restructuring should make their management more efficient and financial situation clearer, says ITP.

It wants to develop the Mexican site, which currently employs a total workforce of around 500, as a "low-cost centre within the ITP Group" and extend its capacities for dollar-based in-house production.