Aircraft maintenance may face some regulatory challenges in 2017, especially from the EU.
Boeing delivered 748 commercial aircraft in 2016, maintaining its position as the world’s biggest aircraft manufacturer and almost matching its total for 2015.
In a period of just three months, Miami-headquartered line-MRO and ground-handling company F&E Aircraft Maintenance (FEAM) has almost doubled to 24 the number of line stations it operates within the U.S.
On Jan. 3, FEAM announced it had opened eight new line stations in the U.S. Midwest and on the U.S. West Coast, all eight being fully operational from the outset.
According to FEAM, it expanded its network into the Midwest and added new stations on the West Coast “to fully accommodate its growing customer base of major global airline operators.”
Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (AMES) has become a significant player in aircraft cargo conversions via the purchase of Pemco World Air Services.
Tampa, Florida-based Pemco offers passenger-to-freighter conversions of Boeing 737 Classic aircraft as well as heavy maintenance services for the 767.
AMES, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group, the cargo lift provider that in 2016 signed a five-year deal to wet lease 20 767 freighters to Amazon.
Anand Parameswaran, Sr. vice president aerospace & defense at Cyient, looks at what 2017 may have in store for the commercial aviation aftermarket.
The revelation in a detailed new MC-21 programme progress report issued by Irkut on December 21 that the new Russian-made PD-14 high-bypass turbofan is now in its second stage of flight-testing raises questions about the future MRO arrangements for the engine, as well as its market prospects.
Developed by United Engine Company (UEC) subsidiary Aviadvigatel, the PD-14 was designed as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofan to power the Irkut MC-21, the Russian aerospace industry’s new single-aisle competitor to the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families.
The PD-14 isn’t a geared-turbofan engine like the PW1000G and doesn’t incorporate ceramic matrix composite parts as does the CFM LEAP family, but it does have other technology features which are in line with the current state of the art in Western commercial-turbofan engine design.
The CFM LEAP-1C engine for China’s 150-seat C919 aircraft has received dual certification from the FAA and EASA.
COMAC rolled out the first C919 a year ago, but it took until last month for its LEAP engines to be switched on, and then only at idle ground power.
Production of the LEAP-1C will only be a fraction of the -1B and -1A - which power the 737 MAX and A320neo, respectively - since the C919 is unlikely to sell well outside China.
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer has unveiled plans to ramp up its services offering by creating a new division focused on customer services and support.
Led by Johann Bordais, currently director of services and support for Embraer Commercial Aviation, the new division will begin operating in the first half of 2017 with a remit to develop support solutions for existing and future products and services, along with managing associated processes and resources.
The thinking behind the move appears to center on growth and integration, according to Paulo Cesar Silva, Embraer president and CEO. “The new business will bring together capabilities that are currently spread throughout different business areas to offer customers a broad portfolio of solutions,” he said. “We see an opportunity to expand and integrate services and support.”
ICAO is developing a series of regulatory changes aimed at reducing the plethora of duplicative oversight and certifications required by approved maintenance organizations (AMOs).
The agency is working toward improving and harmonizing global standards for AMOs, ICAO technical officer for airworthiness Maimuna Taal-Ndure said during the second annual meeting of the Asia MRO League Expert Group. ICAO also hopes to encourage more state regulators to recognize and accept certification by other nations instead of conducting their own reviews.
As a first step, ICAO is moving the approval of AMOs from Annex 6 of its regulations, which focuses on operation of aircraft, to Annex 8, which covers airworthiness. This move is expected to clarify confusion that sometimes arises over whether the state of the operator or the state of aircraft registry are responsible for these approvals, Taal-Ndure said. The change would confirm that it is the state of aircraft registry that would have responsibility.
This proposal has already been sent to states for comment, and is expected to be adopted in 2017. There would be a phase-in period for states to adjust their own regulations, and the changes would be applicable from 2020.
The PW1100G-powered A321neo has now been certified by European and US airworthiness authorities, with Boeing still to reveal a competing product.
The A321neo has now racked up 1,376 orders, about five times as many as its nearest rival, the 737 MAX 9, and certification for the CFM LEAP-powered variant of Airbus’ largest narrowbody is expected in the coming months.
“This aircraft contributes already some 40 per cent to our single aisle deliveries, and further growing,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO.