Safran’s Aircelle business announcement to expand its nacelle and thrust reverser repair services in the U.S. aligns with a talked-about trend at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas Conference—an increased OEM presence in the aftermarket through key partners in emerging markets. For Safran, that partner is Applied Composites Engineering (ACE) in Indianapolis, and the emerging market is the U.S.
The agreement will build on an existing three-year partnership between the two companies to repair Aircelle-manufactured thrust reversers for the Embraer ERJ 145, which is powered by Rolls-Royce AE3007 engines, and the Embraer 170 and 175 models, which use GE CF34 engines.
Marc Laubreaux, Aircelle’s senior vice president of customer service, says that the company is looking at expanding its repair capabilities even further in the U.S. by pursuing repairs for single-aisle aircraft parts. He sees an especially good opportunity for the nacelle on CFMI CFM56-5-powered Airbus A320 classics.
“We’re the OEM on the A320 CFM56-5 thrust reverser, so this is a product that we know well. A lot of them are flying in the U.S., a lot of them are aging,” says Laubreaux.
He foresees the expanded partnership doubling or tripling the workforce who repairs the manufacturer’s nacelles at ACE in Indianapolis. The overall goal, he says, is to create an OEM center of excellence in Indianapolis for business and regional jet nacelle repair. He says that as an OEM, Aircelle is striving to use its data, such as in-service delivery information, to bring what he sees as improved repairs to the U.S. market for these products.