Pratt & Whitney does not see an immediate threat from parts manufacturer approval (PMA) parts emerging for its next generation product family of engines, says Lynn Gambill, director, global services engineering for the engine manufacturer in Atlanta today at the MRO Americas conference.
"I believe it's going to be more difficult to PMA our products going forward," says Gambill during a panel on advanced materials repair.
The engine family will not start requiring overhauls for eight to 10 years, says Gambill. The OEM has begun designing the repairs well before the engines are operational and PMA manufacturers have the chance to see the parts on the open market, which is an advantage, she says.
"Certainly for at least the first third of the lifecycle of an engine, the PMA threat will be somewhat diminished," says Gambill.
A historical analysis shows that materials expenses make up about 90% of the costs of rebuilding an engine during overhaul, compared to 10% for labour.
David Marcontell, president of consultancy Team SAI, says MRO spend is driven by engine maintenance, including "fairly substantial" engine material costs. MRO spend will increase from $56.2 billion for the global in-service fleet to $76 billion by 2023 according to the consultancy's forecast, largely driven by the engine segment.
But Pratt & Whitney says it is not expecting material costs to increase the cost of ownership for operators using the newest generation engines in the future, says Gambill.
"I don't think we're expecting or forecasting that," she says.
To keep costs down, more repairs will be used to minimise use of raw materials, says Paul Finklestein, Pratt & Whitney's marketing director.
The PW1500G powering the Bombardier CSeries is the first engine in Pratt & Whitney's next generation product family, achieving Transport Canada type certification in February. The OEM says it has designed the engine to stay on wing longer and incur lower costs for shop visits with improvements such as fewer airfoils and a design more amenable to conducting inspections.