In the hyper-competitive market of commercial aviation, flying expenses – such as fuel and personnel – and MRO expenses contribute to 40 to 50% of an airline’s operating cost. The ability to reduce fuel and maintenance costs can provide significant financial benefits, especially if the changes can be implemented quickly through operational procedures, such as better route planning or de-rating the engine thrust. De-rating an engine’s thrust reduces the operating temperatures and, as a consequence, reduces engine wear and tear. As engine MRO costs are a significant portion of the aircraft MRO cost, this can bring about immediate financial benefits.
GVH Aerospace was presented with the challenge of modifying a low cost airline’s Boeing 737-300 that had incorporated a Boeing service bulletin that de-rated the operational thrust rating of both CFM56-3B-2 engines from 22,000lb to 20,000lb. The LCC required the permanent links introduced in the service bulletin to be replaced with a programming connector to permit the original 22,000lb thrust or the new 20,000lb thrust configuration to be selected during line maintenance.
GVH Aerospace rose to the challenge and introduced a programming connector as an EASA STC, and provided the continued airworthiness requirements and test procedures. This provided the LCC with the operational flexibility to implement or rescind thrust de-rating with minimal aircraft downtime.
© Photograph copyrighted to Roberto Bianci, used with permission.