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Geared Turbofan MRO Deal A Plum In Delta A321neo Order

Agreement with Pratt sends A321neo, C Series engines to Atlanta.

Landing a coveted spot on Pratt & Whitney's list of approved PW1000-series geared turbofan (GTF) overhaul shops as part of its Airbus A321neo order will help Delta Air Lines keep its own MRO costs low while offsetting them with millions of dollars in third-party revenue by in-sourcing work from other airlines.

Delta, which opted for PW1100G-JM engines to power its 100 A321neos, will see its Delta Tech Ops MRO division become an aftermarket support partner for both the A321neo engines and the PW1500Gs that power the Bombardier C Series. Delta has 75 C Series aircraft on order. 

"We have a guaranteed number of over 5,000 engines that are going to be repaired here in Atlanta over the life of that engine," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said at the airline's annual Investor Day, which kicked off just hours after the early-morning Dec. 14 order announcement.

"The other thing that was really important for us to obtain from Pratt was the ability to actually execute on that plan with the repair capabilities and having the tools and the technology transfer that we're going to work together on to position Delta as the premier provider and engine repair shop for the geared turbofan across the board."

While filling engine shops isn't expected to present a challenge, the volume guarantee ensures that Pratt's Columbus, Ga., GTF shop 100 miles down the road does not present too much competition to Delta's Atlanta-based Tech Ops facility. Columbus, which has expanded its facilities in preparation for the eventual rise in GTF overhaul demand, also services several other engine types. Five other shops are or will be serving the GTF MRO market, including the recently unveiled joint venture between Lufthansa Technik and MTU.

Aviation Week's Commercial Fleet & MRO forecast projects the combined PW1100G-JM and PW1500G fleet size to surpass 6,300 engines by 2028, factoring in both firm and projected orders. Demand for services will top $2.6 billion during the decade, with shop visits ramping up starting in 2025 and surpassing 500 annually in 2027. Before factoring in Delta's A321neo fleet, North America was expected to account for less than 10% of this demand.

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