MROs wrestle with the ‘green’ way forward

Sustainability is a collective responsibility for the entire aviation value chain.

360 Foam Wash

Improvement: GE Aviation’s 360 Foam Wash system produces benefits in the air without compromising the ground environment. Picture: GE Aviation.

While OEMs grapple with introducing new technologies that they hope will help aviation achieve its targets of carbon neutrality and net zero, MROs and the aftermarket are less certain of the big picture.

Electrification, for example – “possible” for short-haul commuter 19-20 seat aircraft by 2024-5 – “won’t have a huge impact” on MRO operations, according to Rolls-Royce’s Jason Sutcliffe. However, gas turbine engines “will be around for a long time” on long-haul wide-body fleets common in the Middle East.

Speaking on a panel at MRO Middle East, Sutcliffe, the engine prime’s EMEA marketing director, said MROs and their technicians “will need lateral capability” to deal with a wider range of requirements.

He said up to 98% of Rolls-Royce Trent engines can now be recycled.

Fellow panellist, Sonia Dumas, head of services marketing for Airbus, said as much as 90% of Airbus airframes could be recycled, and up to 800 components per airframe.

She said the huge volumes of in-flight data now harvested should help OEMs optimise engines for aircraft, as well as supporting predictive maintenance.

On the ground, developments in engine washing are paying dividends. GE Aviation cites statistics showing substantial benefits in terms of fuel burn and CO2 emissions from using its 360 Foam Wash system over water washes.

Paul Vaughan, head of GE Aviation’s Middle East Technology Centre in Dubai, said the system has been optimised for use on multiple GE engine programmes. Seven major airlines – six of them based in the Middle East and south Asia – currently use the system on their GEnx and GE90 engines, and it continues to be tested with more customers globally.

Elsewhere, the multi-platform Cyclean engine wash system, developed by Lufthansa Technik, is being used in Abu Dhabi and Dubai under customer lease.

Lufthansa Technik Middle East (LTME) now also holds mobile equipment at Dubai World Centre (DWC). Feliks Wandt, head of engine life cycle services for EMEA, said this van-mounted version could be dispatched on demand anywhere in the region.

Chuck Grieve

Chuck Grieve

Chuck Grieve is an award-winning writer and editor with more than 40-years experience in consumer, corporate, trade and technical journalism on a global scale.