Goodrich's long-term program for nacelle aftermarket services, Prime Solutions, is gaining speed, with a major seven-year US program, a new customer in the growing Asian market and a product improvement that should enhance future business. Bob Gustafson, VP and GM-Goodrich Aerostructures Aftermarket Services, reports customer interest is increasing. The company looks forward to signing up more Prime customers, especially as the 787 enters service.
Prime Solutions was launched officially in 2007 to control costs on nacelle repairs for both airlines and engine manufacturers, which aim to offer packages for total propulsion systems. It allows customers to avoid infrastructure investment and pick from a menu of services, including fee-per-hour agreements or other deals on nacelles or their components.
Goodrich is now in the second year of a seven-year agreement providing US Airways with Prime Solutions refurbishment of thrust reversers on GE CFM56-5Bs on half of the carrier's more than 100 A320 family aircraft. (Luft-hansa Technik supports the other half in Tulsa). Charges are not based on flight hours, but the airline gets protection on labor and material costs. The contract is timely, as US Airways' huge fleet of A320s is entering a critical maintenance period. "It is the size that is unique," Gustafson says. "It is the first -5B Prime of that magnitude."
Last spring, Singapore Airlines subsidiary SilkAir signed a 12-year Prime Solutions agreement for nacelle spares and maintenance for International Aero Engines V2500s on 15 A320 family jets. SilkAir will pay per flight hour, sending nacelles to the Goodrich Aerostructures Service Center in Singapore, which recently doubled its size to more than 152,400 sq. m. Goodrich already has several other Asian customers and Gustafson says, "there is quite a bit of interest in Prime Solutions in Asia and India."
After four years of collaboration with Bombardier Aerospace's Shorts unit, Goodrich received US FAA approval for a redesigned fan cowl for V2500-A5 nacelles. The old fan cowl, a traditional honeycomb sandwich, was subject to water entrapment and damage from bird strikes and other impacts. It also required opening of the entire cowl for frequent oil checks, which might cause damage or opportunities for incomplete closing. The new cowl uses resin-transfer infusion to produce a single piece that does not allow liquid penetration, is much more resistant to impact and has a small access door for oil checks.
Goodrich has tested the new cowl on an A320 for six months and confirmed the promise of more durability and thus less maintenance cost. In addition, because water and oil cannot penetrate, it should be lighter in service than the traditional cowl. Shorts will manufacture the new cowl and Goodrich has exclusive rights to market it. It will be offered as part of Prime Solutions, and Gustafson hopes to have a customer signed by year end. "Most airlines have been waiting for this, and now they have it," he says. There are about 2,500 V2500-A5s in service.
Prime Solutions now represents 10% of aftermarket business, a share that should grow. Goodrich also is optimistic about the potential for the nacelles it currently manufactures for the Dreamliner. "We are seeing a lot of interest in Prime Solutions for the 787," says Spares and Business Development VP Paul Farsetta. "And it is much easier to get a customer on Prime at purchase than halfway through the cycle of an aircraft."