LONDON – On April 28, the United States aircraft manufacturing giant, The Boeing Company (Boeing) announced that it has entered an MRO agreement with Spirit AeroSystems.
The new MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) agreement between Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems Inc and its affiliates is destined to be used for their 737 MAX aircraft customers.
Until now, Spirit AeroSystems has been primarily responsible for manufacturing the 737 MAX family’s fuselage, thrust reverser, slats, and flaps. However, this program will enable Boeing’s 737 MAX customers to have MRO support for the nacelle and flight control repair work.
This is Boeing’s first pooling program where they have offered a spares and repairs program for these high-value large structural parts on the MAX.
The nacelle is the housing that has been streamlined to fit the 737 MAX’s LEAP-1B engine, which is manufactured by CFM International. LEAP in this case stands for Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion.
CFM’s LEAP-1B engine is a high-bypass turbofan that is capable of providing between 23,000 to 28,000 pounds of thrust and is primarily used by Boeing on its 737 MAX family.
Its two sister engines, the LEAP-1A and LEAP-1C are also high-bypass turbofans developed by CFM International, however, the LEAP-1A is more powerful than the 1B with the capability of providing between 24,500 and 35,000 pounds of thrust.
The LEAP-1A is primarily seen on Airbus’ A320neo family aircraft; A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo.
The LEAP-1C is also more powerful than the 1B, however, is not as powerful as the 1A engine, with a thrust output of between 27,980 and 30,000 pounds and is normally seen on the Chinese produced Comac C919 aircraft.
Commenting on the new agreement, Boeing Global Services’ Vice President of Commercial Spares and Managed Parts, Mini Desai said:
“With this agreement, Boeing Global Services is strategically positioned to assist all 737 MAX operators by providing lease and exchange programs to respond quickly to unforeseen events.”
“Our business serves our customer base beyond the sale of aircraft, and now we can expand lease and exchange support for aerostructures with Spirit AeroSystems.”
Adding to Desai’s comments, Spirit AeroSystems’ Senior Vice President of Aftermarket Services, Kailash Krishnaswamy said:
“Spirit is thrilled to be selected by Boeing Global Services as its global partner for 737 MAX aerostructures repair, including Nacelles and Flight Control Services.”
“Over the last three years, we have expanded from a single MRO center in Wichita to five MRO centers on four continents, which will allow us to serve Boeing’s global customers locally.”
“This strategic partnership will allow us to provide customized, high-quality MRO solutions at industry-leading turn-around times for our customers’ 737 MAX nacelles and flight controls.”
Boeing’s 737 MAX Operators
According to data from Boeing, since its introduction back in 2014, they have had orders from nearly 100 different customers worldwide.
However, this number has fluctuated significantly in recent years following the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft as a result of both Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which both resulted in over 300+ people losing their lives due to Boeing’s faulty design of the aircraft’s MCAS system.
However, now that Boeing has resolved the issues with its MCAS system and has since had the 737 MAX aircraft re-certified by many worldwide aviation authorities, orders are beginning to creep back up.
Some large operators still kept their orders for the aircraft, such as Aeromexico, Ryanair, Air Canada, Icelandair, Korean Air, SpiceJet, and TUI Group, to name a few.
Across all operators, Boeing’s 737 MAX backlog still stands at just under 4,200 aircraft across their 737 MAX family range: the MAX 7, 8, 9, and 10.