September 28, 2012
Excluding retrofits or airworthiness-directive compliance, the worldwide market for overhauling Rolls-Royce (R-R) Trent 700-series turbofans is projected at about $2 billion for the next three years, with Asian carriers accounting for the largest share of the work.
A 2009 retrofit kit for the engine, which improves efficiency by 1%, is proving popular, however, and adds to the potential value of each shop visit for those engines undergoing the modification. Moreover, R-R expects to have another retrofit kit available by 2015, the final year of the forecast period, to incorporate technologies from the Trent 1000, Trent XWB and BR725 engines. The final shape of that package, unveiled during this year’s Farnborough air show, is still being determined.
In addition, high- and intermediate-compressor airworthiness directives still in force also could add to the costs of Trent 700 shop work during the forecast period.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways, which launched the 70,000-lb.-thrust-class Trent 700 17 years ago, will require the largest single share of overhauls—9.5% of the 610 overhauls projected to be needed during the forecast period by the 50 operators tracked—according to Aviation Week’s MRO Prospector tool. Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways in the UAE come in at second and third place, with just under 7% of the total overhauls for the period.
Like its RB211 predecessor, the Trent features a stiff, three-shaft spool arrangement, and also like its predecessor, its large Asian and Middle Eastern market presence means lots of service hours on long routes. R-R reports that the 700 accrues about 250,000 service hours each month, and the 700 series already boasts 4.5 million cycles.
MRO Prospector uses an hours-and-cycles model to project the likelihood of maintenance events for each operator and aircraft, while using a regional assessment of in-house and third-party shop labor and component rates to estimate the potential cost of each shop visit.
The analytical tool projects that Cathay’s installed base of Trent 700 turbofans should generate the need for 58 overhauls during the three-year forecast period beginning with June of this year, at an estimated cost of just over $200 million. Cathay is expected to require 22 overhauls during the first 12 months of the forecast period, 12 in the next 12-month period and 24 in year three.
Cathay outsources its R-R overhaul work to the Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Ltd. (Haesl) joint venture of R-R (45%), Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. (Haeco) (45%) and Singapore’s SIA Engineering Co. (10%). R-R also owns a stake in Singapore Aero Engine Services Ltd. (Saesl) and in German overhauler N3, a joint venture with Lufthansa Technik, so a considerable chunk of the overhaul market is controlled by R-R itself.