Working from the Orly platform, iGO Solutions (a joint venture between AFI KLM E&M, Sabena Technics and the Groupe Dubreuil) is responsible for line and light maintenance operations for the fleets of Air Caraïbes, French Bee and Transavia. Already experienced with A350 maintenance (Air Caraibes being the first French airline to operate Airbus' new-generation ultra-high capacity aircraft), over the summer its teams achieved the first replacement of an APU for this aircraft type.
First A350 APU replacement by iGO Solutions
iGO Solutions has carried out the first operation to remove and replace an APU on an A350 aircraft, for the airline French Bee.
Adapting to an unforeseen - and unforeseeable - situation
On 31 July, iGO Solutions received an alert from the Maintenance Control Center (MCC), which monitors the technical status of aircraft fleets, which had observed a defect on an APU HGT1700 fitted on an A350-900 operated by French Bee.
“This is a young aircraft with just two years of operations behind it. The replacement of an APU at this early stage is relatively exceptional; as a result, we weren't kitted out for this type of operation and so we had to adapt rapidly in order to respond to this request. The three main hurdles were ensuring the supply of a serviceable APU, organizing a grounding timeslot to carry out the operation that suited the client, and mobilizing the industrial and human resources required.”
CEO of iGO Solutions
A hefty technical and organizational challenge
These various challenges were met in the space of just a few days: a night slot was scheduled in a hangar, which had to be big enough to take in the aircraft even with its vertical stabilizer. A replacement APU was brought in, and the industrial resources and tools necessary for the production arrived on site, including a cradle to remove and transport the APU. During the night of 13 - 14 August, a team of 5 mechanics from iGO Solutions alternated under the aircraft's vertical stabilizer. Despite unforeseeable technical hazards - which often arise during first-of-a-kind operations - the APU was removed and replaced within the allotted timeframe, and the aircraft was delivered back to the customer on time.
“Whether in terms of its multi-disciplinary preparation or the level of technical achievement required, this operation presented a number of challenges over a short deadline, which iGO was able to rise to thanks to the expertise of its teams and their rapid mobilization. We'll capitalize upon this first trial run for future operations, and we've drawn up a comprehensive operational report that's been shared with the A350 product support teams at AFI KLM E&M.”