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Turning turbines

The CFM56 is arguably the most iconic engine in commercial aviation and as shop visits begin to peak, Keith Mwanalushi checks in with two of the key MRO players

According to CFM International’s December 2017 fleet highlights, 32,000 CFM56 engines have been delivered to 588 operators to date, making it one of the most widely operated powerplant in service. The CFM56-5B is the engine choice of the ubiquitous A320 family and the CFM56-7B is exclusively powering the Boeing 737 NG family. The CFM56-3 is deployed on the 737 Classics.

Aviation analysts are projecting a concentration of A320 and 737NG lease ends between the years 2019-22, with a peak towards 2022. This will mean a busy cycle ahead for operators and lessors and subsequently MROs.

Norway bound Nestled close to Stavanger Airport, Aero Norway is a specialist provider of CFM56 maintenance and repair services.

Current CEO Glenford Marston is justifiably proud of the facility’s achievements with the CFM56.  Clearly, the global operator base is extensive and Marston believes working exclusively on the CFM56 is the key to the success of the business because the services model that CFM has staked its reputation on for decades is underpinned by independent engine MROs and the usage of the CFM56 series shows no signs of waning.

“You have good volumes of engines to get your teeth into and although it’s competitive, we are not scared of competition when it comes to quality and pricing,” Marston tells Low Cost & Regional Airlines Business in Stavanger.

Marston sees a steady flow of engines from the -3, -5 and the -7 varients and as CFM pushes out new models and engines Aero Norway has sights fully set on servicing the new LEAP engine – “That will be a natural progression for us.”

When looking at the market forces today Marston feels the outlook for the CFM56 is solid and he says the business is working to ensure it can sustain its flexibility.

Marston agrees with analysts when it comes to lease end projections saying now is quite a peak time for the CFM engines, especially for the -5 and -7 because there has been a delay in shop visits for the bulk of engines due to how well they have performed in service.

He says operators that had originally planned about 10,000 to 12,000 cycles with these engines were in fact achieving 15,000 to 20,000 cycles. “I think shop visits will peak for the -5 and -7 especially. For the -3 there are less customers operating the Classics but there is still a lot of work out there to be done,” Marston states. >>

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