SMART SOLUTIONS THAT ARE KEEPING ENGINES ON WING LONGER
How can operators better manage the costs of major maintenance events like overhauls and keep mature aircraft flying longer? With P&WCSMART Solutions. David Allaire-Maheux, Associate Director, Transactional Solutions, explains.
P&WCSMART Solutions were launched in 2014. What was the thinking behind them and who are they intended for?
We want to ensure that mature P&WC engines remain a viable and economical option for our customers’ operations and enable their fleets to fly longer. To achieve that, we continue to expand a portfolio of solutions designed to keep maintenance costs down while increasing time on wing as much as possible, as well as enhancing the value of our customers’ assets.
The customers we’re targeting with these solutions are operators with aircraft that have been flying for a long time. Their asset value is decreasing, and maintenance costs tend to be higher and harder to budget for in advance.
There are several P&WCSMART portfolios tailored for specific segments: PT6A, PW100 and turboshaft (helicopter) solutions. What they have in common is that they’re designed to give operators the best value for their money and make their costs more predictable.
What has the response from customers been like?
The response has been strong. Since the program enhances their business model, we’re seeing a lot of satisfied fleet customers coming back a second and third time.
The number of annual events covered by P&WCSMART Solutions has more than tripled over the last two years, with more and more operators contacting us to participate. This is a testament to the competitive pricing and added value we’re providing through the program.
How exactly do P&WCSMART Solutions provide that added value?
One way is to cap costs for certain expenses, such as replacing life-limited parts with genuine new P&WC parts, or to prevent any surprises by covering costs relating to corrosion and sulfidation. These expenses, and their predictability, are less of an issue for newer aircraft, but they’re a reality most operators have to deal with once they reach the second or third overhaul, or if they operate in certain environmental conditions.
Whether you’re a regional airline operating a fleet, a general aviation owner-pilot with a single aircraft or a helicopter operator, it boils down to the same thing: how to reduce the money you spend and get more value for less outlay.
What are the benefits for P&WC operators?
We are supporting their businesses with first-class OEM services that maintain the availability of their aircraft and sustain—or even increase—their value over time.
In the general aviation segment (PT6A engines), for example, there are a lot of mature aircraft with special needs, and in many cases, they’re single-aircraft operators for which maintenance costs are a key driver, since it’s money out of the owner’s pocket.
The vast majority of the 8,000 PW100 engines manufactured over the past 33 years are still in service. With the fleet aging, operators are looking for solutions to keep them flying and economically viable.
How did you decide on what solutions to offer in each portfolio?
First and foremost, we listen closely to our customers and understand their needs. We also analyse the data to understand the nuances and context of the P&WC-powered fleet globally so we can develop customized solutions for every environment. Our diverse team has 120 years of collective experience in different areas of our business, including MRO, field support, sales and aftermarket, which has enabled us to build programs that truly address our operators’ realities.
For instance, within the PT6A portfolio, there’s a strong emphasis on overhauls. For a PT6A customer, these are the biggest-ticket item they face. In-between maintenance events are less costly. Through P&WCSMART Solutions, we not only offer flat-rate overhauls—we also offer flat-rate engine exchanges for operators with an overhaul due soon, a 1,000-hour engine exchange program and engine upgrades for King Air 200 customers.
For PW100 customers, the portfolio includes offerings that capped the cost of new hot section or overhaul parts at competitive prices never seen before for OEM genuine parts, plus discounts on fleet enhancements.
As for helicopter engine operators, our maintenance solutions provide them with capped costs, flat rates and new or zero-time-since-overhaul engine exchanges with associated warranties—always with the goal of enhancing operating economics.
More than ever, P&WC is working hard at providing different maintenance options to reduce costs, based on our operators’ business environments. P&WCSMART Solutions provide an extensive suite of coverage for any key maintenance event or decision point, with more aggressive pricing than ever before.
What does the future hold for P&WCSMART Solutions?
We’re planning to enhance the solutions to cover more engine models. Given the positive response from customers, we’d like to make them more widely available.