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Mature Engines – Replace or Repair? | AviTrader

5 Mar 2024

An aircraft engine is the most expensive part on an aircraft and when these high cost ‘parts’ reach a mature phase of life operators/lessors consider numerous factors to make sound fiscal decisions around whether to replace or repair them. How does one maximise the operational efficiency of mature engines?

David Dundas speaks to industry experts about mature engines in the latest issue of AviTrader MRO. Taking an in-depth look at the sector he asked AJW Director of Engines, Wasim Akhtar questions including factors influencing the repair or replacement of engines, and the use of used serviceable material (USM) when overhauling mature engines. 


Some factors mentioned by sector experts relating to the question of whether to repair or replace an engine include, spares availability, the cost and time it will take to repair the engine, remaining useful life (LLPs), whether the engine is owned or leased, and any damage to the engine that could affect repair costs.  


Akhtar points out that the life remaining in an engine is pivotal to the decision saying that older engines may face increased maintenance requirements, and their financial viability depends on factors such as market demand, financing, leasing options, and the availability of used serviceable material. Investing millions in repairs may not be justified if there is limited life remaining. 


Assessing which phase of life an engine is in becomes crucial for making informed decisions on whether to repair or replace.” He continues saying that regulatory compliance plays an equally significant role. 


Dundas ask about the significance of USM availability when overhauling mature engines. The consensus is that availability USM is pivotal in the repair/replace or dismantle/sell decision


AJW’s Director of Engines affirms, You must have USM available as replacement. Using new parts is costly and not economically viable for an operator. Without steady access to USM, engine repairs don’t make sense, so this is critical in the overhaul decision making process.”


Mature Engines – Replace or Repair? | AviTrader

While operators are holding on to their mature engines for extended periods or utilising ageing fleets to meet additional capacity, the result is a reduced inventory of engines for parting out, causing a substantial increase in demand for USM for mature engines. 


Numerous factors come into play relating to the engine purchase price. Industry experts agree with AJW’s Akhtar’s comment on the importance of regulatory compliance, authentic certification, and accurate recording of maintenance history when determining the cost of an engine.  The decision to purchase, or not purchase, is highly dependent on how much life remains in the Category A material of the engine in addition to the demand for this material, he says. 


Akhtar notes that prices surge in periods of high demand and limited supply, while they may decline when demand is low, and supply is abundant. Over and above the dynamics of supply and demand, factors such as market conditions, economic fluctuations, and external factors including fuel prices, further impact pricing. 


When asked what channels AJW uses to acquire serviceable mature engines, the Director of Engines proudly states that with nine decades of building relationships and collaborating with industry partners, customers, and lessors, the Group is well placed to source its engines. These well-established relationships are what allows us to procure and supply components and parts delivering the service excellence for which we are known.” 


The Group’s agile approach to business and its rapid service delivery are what makes it the industry partner of choice he proudly states. 




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