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A320neo: Safran Nacelles Repair Activity is Taking Off

Romain Guillot
17/10/2019 | 709 words
A320neo: Safran Nacelles Repair Activity is Taking Off
A LEAP-1A nacelle (without its air intake). Picture © Safran Nacelles© Safran Nacelles
Thanks to a rapid fleet's expansion, the LEAP-1A engine nacelle repair activity is also picking up. Safran Nacelles is now providing nacelle support for a fleet of nearly 500 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. The Safran group's nacelle manufacturer has also provided around twenty component repair solutions to ten airlines as parts of its NacelleLife services offer. Even better, the average measured repair cycle is now just 60 days since the A320neo entered service. Remember that CFM International's LEAP-1A engines and their nacelles began revenue flights in July 2016 on an Airbus A320neo operated by Turkish airline Pegasus. The LEAP-1A's nacelles are designed, produced and distributed and may be fully repaired by Safran Nacelles. They are made up of 60% composite materials.

A significant consequence of the particularly high-bypass ratio of this new generation of engines is that the nacelle is made of large composite elements of complex shape. "The challenge with this nacelle is that there are a lot of composite elements, which requires a different skill set than for standard repairs on metal nacelles", says Olivier Savin, Executive Vice President - Customer Support & Services at Safran Nacelles. He continues by explaining to us that the new repair solutions are applied as events occur, for example after an impact from an external object or debris on the runway. "All of these specific solutions needs to be studied by our engineers to see how we can repair them without replacing the parts in order to reduce maintenance costs for the airlines", he stressed. Complex repair solutions are put in place by the Safran Nacelles Product Support Engineering teams. In total, over 70 people are currently supporting the equipment manufacturer's 19 products, including of course the LEAP nacelle for the A320neo.

Olivier Savin told us that most of the repairs have been carried out in the United States or in France, with Safran Nacelles continuing to develop LEAP-1A nacelle repair capabilities in Dubai at AMES, the joint venture formed with AFI KLM E&M. But he also let us know that Safran Nacelles is currently looking at being able to have direct capability in Asia and China.

NacelleLife, an "à la carte" services offer

Olivier Savin also reminded us that NacelleLife is a multi-dimension service offer, which means that a specific solution is not imposed to the airline. More over, the ten NacelleLife contracts which cover the A320neo's nacelles are all quite different. Certain airlines want a global offer, a fully-integrated and flight hour type solution, for the nacelle but also for their EBU and QEC components. Others are developing a certain amount of capabilities themselves, but don't want to invest in material and so want to lease it for medium to long term (shared pool access, long term lease, short term lease, etc.). But each time the offer is combined with a support and repair contract should any problems arise. Olivier Savin also notes that the nacelle is an "on-condition" component, which means that it doesn't have scheduled maintenance with limited lifetime parts, as for engines or APU. "This compels the airline to service the nacelle regularly and keep up the preventive maintenance programmes we give them. The airline will then select what it needs from the NacelleLife offer - logistical support, technical support, repair support - and in these three areas we are able to provide them with local or remote solutions depending on where they are ".

But Savin also told us that airlines are looking at developing their own intervention capabilities in the very near future, given the sizes of their fleets and as they already do on other types of nacelle. "It's up to us to provide a response by giving them what they need, providing them with team training proposals, selling them tools or providing them with remote or local expertise with our teams to enable them to have a certain level of autonomy on the nacelle".

Note that Safran Nacelles recently received an award from Airbus for the best aftermarket support in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) category during the Airbus Global Supplier Conference in Toulouse on 1st October. This award crowns its services offer on both single-aisle and wide-body Airbus aircraft.
Romain Guillot
Chief editor
Cofounder of Journal de l'Aviation and Alertavia

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