The joint venture, in which Lufthansa Technik and GE Aviation hold a 51% and 49% stake, respectively, was established to expand MRO capacity for the two owners, which will also be its sole customers. XEOS will service only those engines it receives directly from its joint venture partners, which they, in turn, have received from their global airline operators.
Under current planning, the facility will focus initially on the GEnx-2B, which powers the Boeing 747-8, of which Lufthansa operates 19. However, XEOS will commence servicing the GE9X—the engine for the new Boeing 777X—starting in the 2021-22 timeframe, according to Thomas Boettger, the joint venture’s CEO. He explains that at maturity, estimated by 2026, the 19,000 sq. meter (204,514 sq. ft.) facility will employ a total staff of 600—up from the current 250. Technicians, he says, will account for 85% of the staff.
“We will be able to accommodate as much as 50 engines at one time, with the capability to overhaul 200-250 engines per year,” Stefan Schmuck, XEOS chief operational officer adds.
With EASA Part 145 approval anticipated in March, and FAA approval expected in May 2019, XEOS will provide full GEnx-2B service, with the exception of test cell capability. Testing, Schmuck explains, will be covered by GE Aviation Caledonia in the UK, until the first quarter of 2021, when a test cell is slated to be online at the XEOS facility.
“Along with overhauls, we will also have limited engine parts repairs starting in April, but we expect this will grow quickly in terms of numbers and technology—such as thermal spray,” Schmuck points out.
Boettger adds that a full suite of MRO services, including overhauls, will be offered by XEOS on the GE9X, although the test cell will not include GE9X capability until 2024 or 2025. Asked about extending XEOS to service other GE engines, Boettger says “there is a likelihood but no plans at the moment.”