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Narrowbody Engine Maintenance - Aviation Maintenance Magazine

3 Jun 2024

The airline industry’s enduring love for cost-effective narrowbody aircraft is driving strong growth in the narrowbody engine maintenance market. What trends are being observed by MROs and the companies that support MROs with narrowbody engine parts? Aviation Maintenance Magazine investigates.

Speaking to industry experts about the growth trends in engine MRO, Aviation Maintenance Magazine asked AJW Group’s Director of Engines, Wasim Akhtar about his global view of the narrowbody engine maintenance market.

Wasim begins by observing thatthe demand for narrowbody engine maintenance is currently soaring primarily due to postponed shop visits and OEM delays. The upturn in demand is further driven by the ongoing recovery of leisure and business travel.

Continuing, the Magazine asks Akhtar which narrowbody parts are most in demand.  

The highest demand is for the CFM56-5B, CFM56-7B tech insertion (TI) configuration and select 1 and 2 when it comes to V2500-A5,” replies Akhtar. Operators are prioritizing these newer engine configurations to align with environmental regulations and sustainability goals. 

Based on our current knowledge and understanding, the market can expect approximately 1,500-2,000 shop visits for the CFM56-5B and CFM56-7B engines, as half of this current twenty thousand strong fleet is yet to go through their first shop visits, Akhtar continues. 

Is it possible to factor in some degree of predictability into the narrowbody engine maintenance process?

Akhtar confirms that this is possible. “This is because the narrowbody engine types are primarily maintained on a conditioned basis, as per the OEM guidelines,” he explained.At the same time, operators and lessors are investing in the maintenance of older aircraft to keep them in service due to the current supply chain issues with the new aircraft and engine types.” 

Narrowbody Engine Maintenance - Aviation Maintenance Magazine

The AJW Group Director of Engines then observes that the continued use of older narrowbody aircraft does result in a more diverse and mature range of engines in the market, which brings extra challenges for MROs and airlines alike. 

For example, booming demand for engine parts has driven up prices and OEMs have seized the opportunity to capitalize on this demand,” he said. 

With demand outstripping supply, the impact on parts prices has been predictable. 

Akhtar concurs, stating that the catalogue list prices of new parts have gone up by about 12%, which means the market value of used engine parts has also gone up.The market is still being influenced by the challenges in the OEM sector post- pandemic, more specifically the availability and delivery schedules of engines,” he said.  

So, what does the future hold? 

It is going to be well beyond 2026 before we see an alleviation in this situation. By then, the shop visits would have peaked and the engines we deal with will still be worthwhile repairing and using for component supply. Scheduled aircraft retirements will improve the parts supply over time, which will soften the current demand to some extent.” 

We expect the narrowbody engine market to expand significantly over the coming years,” Akhtar said. “For one thing, many airlines are opting to lease engines to avoid the substantial upfront costs associated with purchases and heavy restorations, which should increase supply overall. For another, the uptick in demand for used engine parts is having a notable impact on AJW’s engine and MRO business, and as such, the Group is investing heavily in narrowbody aircraft and engines to meet the growing demand.” 

All told, the story of the narrowbody engine maintenance market is one of growth and good prospects, despite the trio of challenges. Aviation Maintenance Magazine concludes that this is exactly what MROs, their suppliers, and their airline customers want to hear! 




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