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MRO BEER 2024: Navigating engine maintenance challenges

The MRO BEER conference in Vilnius on June 27, 2024, featured a panel of industry leaders discussing the evolving landscape of engine maintenance.  

Moderated by James Pozzi, MRO Editor EMEA at Aviation Week Network, the panel provided insights into how MRO organizations are handling challenges posed by new and aging aircraft engines. They explored questions like the impact of engine OEMs’ framework on recent engine problems and the increase in engine MRO shops in the region. 

Post-COVID recovery and increasing demand 

Fulya Turkoz from Lufthansa Technik (LHT) highlighted the rapid post-COVID recovery, noting that the current challenge has shifted from material shortages to workforce needs. With rising air traffic, demand for maintenance services is increasing, necessitating quick turns and more flexible support.  

Olivier Boina from Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) echoed this observation, pointing out that recovery has been strong but has led to significant labor and parts shortages, extending MRO turnaround times by 15-30%.  

Supply chain challenges 

The panelists agreed that the supply chain remains a critical bottleneck. Boina attributed this to the lag in manufacturing recovery and global events like the war in Ukraine, which have increased raw material demand. He estimated that two or three additional years would be needed to fix the supply chain. 

Arne Luxa from MTU Maintenance emphasized that while the company has managed to diversify its portfolio and locations, distributing available parts at the necessary production rate remains a challenge.  

Julius Bogusevicius of FL Technics predicted that supply chain issues might last even longer than anticipated, affecting overall efficiency. 

Adapting maintenance strategies 

In response to these challenges, MROs are adapting their strategies. LHT is combining shop visits with mobile engine services to meet immediate support needs. MTU Maintenance has focused on diversifying its portfolio to manage the high demand for both old and new engines. FL Technics has adopted more creative solutions for second shop visits, such as modular work, reflecting a shift in engine investment philosophy post-COVID. 

Long-term projections and engine lifecycle 

Panelists also discussed the long-term projections for engine maintenance. Luxa mentioned that, despite new programs, legacy engines will remain in service longer than expected, with continued investment in shop visits being necessary. Boina discussed the challenges with newer engines like the LEAP and GTF, indicating that significant fixes might not be fully available until 2026. This means that engines currently in operation will require substantial maintenance in the interim. 

Regional impact and emerging trends 

The increase in engine MRO shops in the region indicates its emergence as a center for engine maintenance. Bogusevicius noted the importance of quick-turn shops and the need for a test cell, suggesting that while performance restoration isn’t always necessary locally, there is a business case for expanding regional capabilities. 

The panel concluded that while the MRO industry faces significant challenges, there are also opportunities for growth and innovation. By adapting strategies and investing in new technologies and capabilities, MROs can better support the evolving needs of the aviation industry. 

The post MRO BEER 2024: Navigating engine maintenance challenges appeared first on AeroTime.

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