CFM International president Jean-Paul Ebanga has reconfirmed at the Paris air show that the manufacturer's maintenance network for its new Leap engine will be open, allowing customers and third-party MRO providers to compete freely on servicing the type.

Ebanga was responding to questions on restrictive maintenance practices that can cause servicing costs to rise, a subject raised by IAG chief executive Willie Walsh at the IATA annual general meeting earlier this month.

"Different engine makers are, let's say, addressing the market with different solutions," says Ebanga. "Rolls-Royce has been known to have a closed solution on the Trent.

"He [Walsh] said he would like to see more competition [for MRO business] but I don't see how we can have more competition because our network is open. It is our responsibility to drive maintenance costs down."

Ebanga says CFM has been committed to providing open maintenance networks. "We have always been engaged to do so and will continue to do so with the Leap," he says. CFM has promised customers that maintenance costs on Leap will be no greater than those of the CFM56, says Ebanga.

Today, there are about 45 maintenance shops offering MRO services of some kind for the CFM56. However, the number of shops working on the Leap is likely to be lower. "This is not because we want to reduce the number but because Leap will require higher skills and more advanced industrial set-ups to look after the engine," says Ebanga.

While the Leap MRO network will be open, CFM does expect more customers to opt for its by-the-hour service contracts on Leap. Today, with a mature and large maintenance network for the CFM56, these contracts represent less than half of the total, says Ebanga. "We expect strongly more than half for Leap," he says.

CFM has time to work up the MRO network for the Leap as the first shop visit is not due before 2025. "What we are doing is making sure we have the MRO network needed for EIS," he says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard