Nevertheless, the ramp-up was completed on schedule with extensive investments in tools, components and spare engines. Not to mention the training of mechanics, technicians and engineering, which was carried out despite numerous travel restrictions and quarantines.
Welcome to the A220!
The latest Airbus has joined the Air France fleet. AFI KLM E&M teams have been actively preparing for this event to support the new narrow-body as soon as it enters service. It arrived in Paris from Canada on 29 September. Bearing the registration code F-HZUA but named "Le Bourget" in homage to the legendary French airfield, this Airbus A220-300 is the first of 60 aircraft ordered by Air France, of which 6 will be delivered in 2021 and 15 in 2022. A sustained pace for which AFI KLM E&M's maintenance teams have been actively preparing in a mere 18 months.
Aircrafts ordered by Air France
will be delivered in 2021
will be delivered in 2022
“Welcoming a new aircraft into the fleet always requires intense preparation upstream, but in this case, the project was launched at the beginning of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, which meant that we were able to meet our Airbus Canada contacts only twice in person.”
Project manager for AFI KLM E&M
“What made things easier is that it is an aircraft of the same generation as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, for which we have already mastered the main technological principles. And since this is our third entry into service of a new aircraft type in five years, our teams have experience of this challenge!”
Project manager for AFI KLM E&M
A new MRO offer
Beyond the traditional post-delivery workscopes, the objective is now to industrialise the processes. Thanks to its dual airline-MRO profile, AFI KLM E&M capitalize on the support provided to the Air France A220 fleet to set up a relevant and efficient MRO offer, including in engineering solutions and engine support. Regarding components support, owing to its in-depth expertise in the latest generation of aircraft, AFI KLM E&M has already designed and is able to market a complete nose-to-tail components support for A220 operators. AFI KLM E&M is building dedicated in-house capabilities, in particular by investing in sufficient inventories to guarantee rapid access to spare parts, but also by adapting its engineering skills to provide the best possible operational service. With pool access, 24/7 AOG support, parts availability and a wide range of additional services such as Initial Provisioning and Entry Into Service support, Main Base Kit implementation, line maintenance solutions and aerostructures capabilities, AFI KLM E&M's offer is adapted to all A220 support needs. Additionally, EPCOR, the AFI KLM E&M subsidiary specialized in APUs and pneumatic components, announced in February 2021 the expansion of MRO services on APU GTCP131-9C equipping the A220, through an exclusive license agreement with the OEM.
“We have anticipated this entry into service by learning about the operational life of the new aircraft from other operators and the behaviour of its components, all this, of course, with a view to assure smooth operations as much as possible. This means that we can already meet a large range of operators' needs”
AFI KLM E&M's Industrial development SVP
Today, AFI KLM E&M has contracted with some fifteen A220 manufacturers to ensure its initial supply of spare parts and to acquire in-house repair capabilities - by developing first such as local services for wheels, batteries or oxygen.
Optimisation of engine operations
The Group has received approval to install engines using Quick Engine Change (QEC), a procedure which optimises TATs for engine changes. Splitting/mating involves removing the fan case module to facilitate transport of the hefty Trent XWB engine: by industrialising this operation, AFI KLM E&M can make use of Air France's freight 777s, in order to provide the fleet with greater autonomy, for both its parent company and its own customers.