July 05, 2012
Credit: Photo: AirTeamImages.com
Low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways faces about $600 million in engine overhaul costs within the next three years for its Airbus and Embraer fleet, an Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) analysis shows.
As AWIN previously reported from data obtained from the MRO Prospector tool, JetBlue is estimated to need 216 overhauls at a cost of $447 million in that three-year period for the International Aero Engines V2500 medium turbofans that power its Airbus A320 aircraft. A new analysis shows the airline also faces $152 million in spending to overhaul 76 of the General Electric CF34-10 engines used on its Embraer 190 aircraft, which represent about 78% of the CF34-10 engines the airline has in use.
The New York-based carrier, which began service in 2000, has publicly acknowledged its maintenance cost challenges; the carrier’s oldest A320 turned 12 last year, and the average fleet age increased from 5.4 years in December 2010 to 6.1 in December 2011.
“We expect maintenance expense will continue to be a major challenge as a large group of A320s acquired in the mid-2000s during a period of rapid fleet expansion are now due for C-checks and engine restoration checks,” CFO Mark Powers said during the airline’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January.
For the past year, he added, JetBlue has “worked with our various maintenance repair and overhaul partners” to focus on “smoothing future costs.”
The Prospector engine maintenance estimate of overhaul needs is based on the on-wing reliability of the powerplant, which is derived from surveys, and the rate at which engine hours are consumed. The cost is based on the prevailing average maintenance cost per hour for that engine type, which also comes from surveys.
For CF34-10 users worldwide, Prospector foresees overhauls on 548 engines within the next 36 months, or 60% of the engines currently in use, at a total cost of nearly $1.1 billion. Air Canada has the largest financial exposure, with almost all of its 90 engines requiring an overhaul at a total projected cost of $176 million. JetBlue’s costs are the second highest.
The CF34-10E engine powers Embraer 190 and 195 aircraft, as well as the Embraer Lineage 100 business jet. (A new variant, the CF34-10A, has been selected for use on the ARJ21 regional jet in development at the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China.)
Brazil’s Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras faces $72 million in costs to overhaul nearly half of its 76 engines over the next 36 months, Australia’s Virgin Blue $64 million on 89% of its 36 engines, and Republic Airlines $60 million on 88% of its 34 engines.