Strengthening demand in the Asia-Pacific region and China in particular has MTU scrambling to add capacity to meet customers’ engine shop visit needs.
“All the available shop visits in our [Zhuhai, China] facility are sold out towards the year end, and this is not just [joint venture partner] China Southern,” Chief Program Officer Michael Schreyögg said during a briefing at the Paris Air Show. “It’s airlines in the region and from the rest of the word. The demand is definitely big. We have to increase our capacity very quickly.”
MTU and China Southern jointly operate the Zhuhai shop, which services CFM56-5Bs and -7Bs, Leap-1As and -1Bs, IAE V2500-A5s, and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JMs. Steadily rising demand prompted construction of a second facility in nearby Jinwan that will also fall under the Zhuhai joint venture.
Set to open in 2025 and ramp up to 260 annual shop visits, it will focus on PW1100G-JMs and V2500 engines. Construction of the facility’s test cell was fast-tracked due to overwhelming demand, however, and was officially opened in early June.
MTU’s overhaul capacity in China is set to be full starting next year, Schreyögg said. Given that MTU generates 15% of its aftermarket revenue from China, investing in the new facility to add overhaul capacity starting in 2025 was an easy decision.
China’s April domestic passenger traffic was 6% above the comparable 2019 figure, IATA figures show. Even better from an aftermarket demand standpoint, April capacity as measured in available seat kilometers was 21% higher than in April 2019.
“Chinese people are [traveling in] China and going abroad,” Schreyögg said. “This is also what is reflected in our joint venture companies.”
Asia’s recovery aligns with broader commercial aftermarket trends. MTU’s full-year 2023 guidance sees commercial spares sales up around 20% while commercial services will be up in the high teens.