1 Mar 2017
Nearly 30 years after the A320 entered service, Airbus is preparing to publish maintenance tasks for the latest neo variant, while further optimising requirements for established models.
As the first A320 twinjet is prepared for consignment to a museum after three decades of flight-testing, Airbus is about to publish maintenance related tasks for the latest neo variant and for aircraft equipped with Sharklet wingtips, while continuing to optimise requirements for the whole single-aisle family. The European manufacturer is also developing a new fatigue monitoring programme, but has decided not to lengthen the type's 120,000 flight-hour (FH)/60,000 flight-cycle (FC) extended service goal (ESG).
Although there is no calendar-age limit for A320 revenue service, after more than a quarter-century of operation, the design is among the most in-demand narrowbody candidates as a source for spare parts.
Aircraft being dismantled can be any of three distinct models, depending on build standard and upgrades over the life of the A320 up to the start of the A320neo. These include changes to main landing gear (pre-enhanced and enhanced), APU fit, engines (CFM56-5A/V2500A1, CFM56 5B/V2500A5), and avionics. The latter includes changes from CRT to LCD cockpit displays and upgraded flight-management guidance computer (FMGC), according to AJW Aviation Strategic Material and Asset Management Vice President Conrad Vandersluis. While many are currently "very early" examples, Vandersluis says there is "significantly more value in, say, a 12-year-old airframe than earlier-build aircraft".
Progressive engine upgrades that saw International Aero Engines V2500A-1 and CFMI CFM56-5A units replaced with V2500A-5 and CFM56-5B variants, respectively, provide an additional differentiator.
AJW believes the values of V2500A-1- and CFM56-5A-powered aircraft are "significantly reduced" as the airframe value is "very small". The only significant worth is "in the engines, which also depend on their limited-life part status". Nevertheless, if a suitable V2500A-1 was available "remaining operators would pay a reasonable value", according to Vandersluis, who says that the "only competitor for an A320 is another A320".
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