There has been significant growth in used serviceable material activities in recent years as a way of reducing material costs, notes Patrick Holzkamp, head of purchasing engines and used parts at MTU Maintenance. But used part supply is not matching demand due to several factors: low oil prices, fast traffic growth, older aircraft staying in fleets and low parking and retirement rates. The MTU exec sees supplies becoming more plentiful only when parking and retirement rates increase.
Demand pressures are most intense and prices are highest for sets of life-limited parts (LLP) with green time for at least one engine run on CFM56s, V2500s and CF6-80C2s. Holzkamp expects these pressures to ease, but not evenly.
MTU expects more parking and retirements for V2500-powered aircraft from 2020 onwards, and more teardown V2500s should then be available. “For other types however, such as for fast-moving CFM56 parts, demand outstrips supply and will remain difficult,” he says.
Demand can also outstrip supply on much older fleets, Holzkamp observes. “As these fleets dwindle, so too does the supply of surplus. Due to market forces, engines such as the CF6-80C2 are being flown longer than originally planned,” says Holzkamp. Used materials, especially LLP sets with at least one engine run remaining, are thus scarce.
Holzkamp says MTU has some advantages in navigating this difficult market, citing 40 years of MRO experience combined with market understanding gained through MTU Maintenance Lease Services. MTU can thus handle engines in-house, salvage and repair parts, all while knowing the value of mature engines and used parts.
Holzkamp argues operators with large, owned and maturing fleets may find it profitable to tear down some of their engines to feed parts to other engines during shop visits. MTU provides advice on this option in its SAVEPlus program for mature engines.
The engine MRO has another program to maximize engine values at end of life by tearing down engines and remarketing or purchasing parts.