IATA has reached an agreement with CFM International to open up the market for third-party maintenance of engines produced by the GE-Safran joint venture.

"CFM has adopted a set of 'conduct' policies that will enhance the opportunities available to third-party providers of engine parts and MRO services on the CFM56 and the new Leap series," says the airline association.

The manufacturer has agreed to license its engine shop manual to maintenance providers that use non-CFM parts, and will also permit the use of third-party repairs and parts by "any" of the licensees, says IATA.

Furthermore, CFM will honour warranties for OEM components and repairs on its equipment "even when the engine contains non-CFM parts or repairs", IATA adds.

Operators and their potential third-party MRO partners will in future have a "right to use the CFM engine shop manual without a fee".

CFM has agreed to sell its parts and perform all types of part repair for operators and MRO provider even if the engine contains third-party repairs and parts.

Previously, GE pursued a policy – under its TRUEngine programme – of limiting support for its own engines and those built by CFM if these included third-party spares developed under a parts manufacturing authority (PMA) approval or repairs devised under a designated engineering representative (DER) certificate.

GE argued that owners, lessors and appraisers could "more easily evaluate engine configuration, asset value and market attractiveness" if the equipment's content and maintenance history had been "verified by GE or CFM".

IATA says airlines, lessors, third-party maintenance providers and parts manufacturers stand to benefit from the new agreement.

Director general Alexandre de Juniac states that the accord will "reduce airline operating costs and help... keep flying affordable". He adds: "We hope that this agreement will be an example for other manufacturers to follow."

In 2015, the European Commission launched a tentative inquiry into potentially anti-competitive terms in engine and component maintenance contracts, focusing on CFM56s and the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB.

While the Commission did not say it had launched a formal investigation, questionnaires were sent to airlines and MRO providers inviting their views on the matter.

In 2016, IATA filed a formal complaint with the Commission, which it has now withdrawn as part of the deal with CFM.

IATA notes that this deal applies only to CFM, but the association tells FlightGlobal: "We have not ruled out any pathways in terms of supporting our members in their efforts to ensure a vibrant and competitive market for MRO services [of other manufacturers' equipment]."

The new accord includes "specific provisions ensuring the implementation of CFM's commitments" to support in-service CFM56 engines, which power a combined fleet of approximately 13,400 Airbus A320-family and Boeing 737 narrowbodies.

CFM has pledged to apply the agreement to "all commercial engines produced by the company" – including the new Leap series.

The manufacturer says the deal "reaffirms its commitment to maintain and foster robust and open competition within the MRO market, as well as the competitive nature of its MRO model".

It foresees that the conduct policies will "help to confirm, clarify, and complement CFM's aftermarket practices".

Furthermore, the measures will "facilitate the awareness of CFM's principles with its customers and support IATA's intent to expand the application of such policies to other stakeholders in the aerospace industry", the manufacturer argues.

CFM chief executive Gael Meheust states: "This agreement reflects CFM's strategy to promote competitive MRO services and its continuous commitment to customer satisfaction."

Source: FlightGlobal.com