AFI KLM E&M has inaugurated its support offering dedicated to the latest addition to engine- maker CFM International's (CFMI) stable, completing a workscope for a client airline. This is a fundamental milestone in the industrialization of LEAP, which will progressively be ramped up over the months ahead.
AFI KLM E&M has stepped up the development of its MRO capabilities around the new-generation LEAP engine. After manufacturer CFMI granted it a license establishing its status as an MRO service supplier for LEAP engines, the AIR FRANCE KLM Group has put down multiple major milestones as it seeks to industrialize maintenance for this new engine-type.
Meeting initial requirements worldwide
From the strategic angle, the most important thing for AFI KLM E&M is to be able to handle support requirements in connection with entry into service. "The pace of industrialization is connected to the engine life cycle," explains Thierry Chabroux, AFI KLM E&M Director Engine Product. "We have organized ourselves so that we are ready to provide Light Engine Maintenance operations to meet the needs of operating airlines and resolve any teething problems that an engine may encounter in its first months in operation. At the same time, we are moving ahead on several fronts to progressively develop our capabilities and our offering, both at physical level, with the training of our personnel, defining our procedures and contracts, etc., and at mechanical level, by getting organized so that we can deliver the first on-wing/on-site workscopes, and then ultimately Quick Turn operations and full-scale shop visits."
Apart from the OEM, AFI KLM E&M is one of the first MROs to win approvals from the two main civil aviation bodies, the EASA and the FAA, accrediting it to support initial LEAP operations.
First workscope signed off
"To be able to take on the first support requests, several teams of mechanics have already been trained at CFMI and now are part of group able to perform all kinds of engine line/base maintenance workscopes", explains Erik Poorta, who heads up the LEAP program KLM E&M. That was how an engine build-up workscope was recently performed on a spare LEAP-1B belonging to TUI Group at the Amsterdam-Schiphol facility. This full-scale test, completed successfully and to the client's satisfaction, de facto validated the ability of personnel at the Engines Division to meet the initial needs of operators. "This is a founding milestone for us in several respects," adds Erik Poorta: "because we were able to consolidate our technical knowledge of the LEAP at that time; because it demonstrates and affirms our expertise with respect to on-wing/on-site maintenance; and also because it showcases our long experience of entry-into-service operations on new engines, both as an MRO and as an operating airline."
Handling LEAP maintenance by AFI KLM E&M personnel is as much a question of resources as organization, and the creation of a new product line is an opportunity to cement pioneering new approaches in engine maintenance and shop and team operation. As Thierry Chabroux tells it: "In addition to the phased implementation of training, we regularly organize meetings and way-stage briefings with our project and operational teams in Paris and Amsterdam. In particular, this involves reviewing our processes in order to identify any opportunities to adjust or innovate with this new engine-type, and to continue investing in tooling and any necessary means."
And all that alongside the capabilities that are already enabling AFI KLM E&M to support the lift-off of LEAP operations worldwide.