P&W says rival CFM56 parts unit to be fully operational by early 2008

Washington DC
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Pratt & Whitney (P&W) says its new spare engine parts division for rival CFM International CFM56 powerplant will be fully operational by early 2008 and producing 55 CFM56-3 gas path and life-limited parts.

P&W expects the parts, many of which are blades and rotors for the high pressure compressor and the engine’s turbines,  to receive US Federal Aviation Administration certification in two phases, with around half being certificated by the end of this year, says the unit’s newly-appointed Global Material Solutions vice president Matthew Bromberg. Certification for the remaining parts is expected to follow in next year. Deliveries are expected to begin in early 2007, and the unit will be fully operational in early 2008, says Bromberg.

P&W’s move, the first by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) into a competitor’s parts manufacturer approval (PMA) market, has already attracted a client, United Airlines, which today signed a 10-year contract that provides parts for up to 200 engines. “Pratt & Whitney’s scope, scale and familiarity with aircraft part manufacturing make them an excellent partner to help further reduce United’s maintenance costs while maintaining the highest standards of safety,” says United senior vice president of business development Rick Poulton.

Bromberg says he expects other customers to sign contracts by September, but would not add more details.

P&W expects all of its overhaul services, including the new division, to generate $500 million annually in five years, around double the revenue posted in 2005. Although Global Material Solutions’ contribution is to be “relatively small”, investment will be in the “tens of millions of dollars,” says the company.

More than 14,000 CFM56 engines, including more than 4,000 CFM56-3 engines are currently in service worldwide. The overall maintenance, repair and overhaul market generates about $12 billion revenue annually, adds P&W.

“Our intent is to offer improved value,” says Bromberg. “The parts would be as good or better than the OEM, making it attractive to customers.”

P&W president Louis Chênevert also explains: “This is very strategic to us and a good extension to our aftermarket business which has involved the CFM56 for several years [and the move] leverages our rich heritage of OEM experience.”

Chênevert also notes the significance of the move into CFM56 PMA. “These are not just the gas path parts, but all the replacement, life-limited parts including the discs which is a big change,” he says.

P&W also believes the move into the CFM56 market will renew links with narrowbody operators. “We once had a relationship with the airlines with the JT8D [engine] and that has eroded over the years,” he says, adding that the venture will bring new life to these relationships “as we move forward to the next generation”.

CFM does not agree. In a statement the manufacturer says: “Several companies already compete with GE and Snecma, the CFM manufacturer, to sell parts for CFM engines. GE and Snecma continue to invest millions of dollars each year to continually upgrade the CFM fleet in service.

“These upgrade programs provide considerable advantages in terms of on-wing life and fuel efficiency over the original parts designed by CFM for the engine, which PMA manufacturers are attempting to replicate.”

CFM adds: “The original designer and manufacturer of a jet engine has an inherent advantage in supplying the safest, most effective parts for a jet engine.”

JOE SINGLETON / WASHINGTON, DC

This article first appeared on Air Transport Intelligence, an online business intelligence service for the air transport industry with 24 hour news and data available to subscribers.

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