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GE90-94 : an A to Z of repair and overhaul

Crowning a four-year development stage, CRMA, an AFI KLM E&M wholly owned subsidiary specializing in engine parts repair, has obtained General Electric approval to repair GE90-94 combustion chambers. Already a Primary Repair Source approved by GE for Engine Alliance GP7200 TCF and combustion chamber, with this latest capability gained by CRMA, AFI KLM E&M can now offer more in house repairs on components and modules of the Very Big Engines.

Since 17th February this year, the approval has allowed CRMA to repair GE90-94 combustion chambers. With this new capability, AFI KLM E&M is now able to offer the full spectrum of maintenance and repair work on this version of the VBE. “We focused first on the GE90-94,” explained CRMA Marketing & Sales General Manager Yves Cosaque. “By capitalizing on the AIR FRANCE KLM fleet, we can offer our third-party customers best-quality service at attractive prices.” This is because CRMA know-how makes it possible to significantly reduce combustion chamber repair costs by cutting TAT by close to 40%.

The only market alternative to the OEM

With CRMA, AFI KLM E&M is thus the only MRO worldwide to be in a position to repair GE90-94 combustion chambers apart from the manufacturer itself in the United States. With the majority of GE90-94 fleets being operated in Europe, CRMA’s geographic situation is a guarantee for many carriers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East of having a repair shop on their doorstep, so to speak. CRMA’s ability to carry out repairs using a process developed in-house in line with the manufacturer’s specifications is ample proof of its know-how and technical expertise on latest-generation engines. CRMA is also aiming to broaden its VBE offering by developing the same type of repair processes for the higher-thrust GE90-115. AFI KLM E&M will thus be the only MRO to offer this capability, based on the experience of a world-class fleet operator.


CRMA’s new certification program

In March 2011, CRMA embarked on a program to obtain certification as an Authorized Economic Operator (OEA: Opérateur Economique Agréé). This European certification program, which is delivered by French Customs, has already been recognized by Switzerland, Norway, and Japan, and is due to be recognized by the United States and China. It helps to smooth, facilitate and simplify the Company’s international logistics operations by implementing the security and safety measures that are increasingly important in a global environment under constant threat of terrorist action.

CRMA has opted for the complete certificate, which includes a simplification of customs formalities and safety/security measures.

The certification will allow CRMA to:

  • bolster its reputation with French Customs and its customers,
  • drive growth in its export activities,
  • meet safety requirements for goods carried (flight safety). 

CRMA is aiming to leverage the program in order to strengthen its brand image as a trustworthy partner company among its commercial partners.


World First
CRMA puts a tiger in the A380 Engine

In overhauling its first Turbine Center Frame (TCF) from a GP7200 engine, one of two engine types powering the A380 and built by Engine Alliance, CRMA is positioning itself as a key player when it comes to maintaining the powerplant.

CRMA is a wholly-owned Air France subsidiary that develops and provides its global customers with high-tech expertise and services for currently-used new-generation engine assemblies and components used in GP7200, GE90, and CFM56 powerplants. “The company has three key strengths,” explains Chief Executive Officer José-Marie Louis: “Cooperation with the AFKL Group, a development strategy tailored to the current needs of airlines, and the responsiveness and adaptability that allow it to respond speedily to specific repair and overhaul requirements.” The case of the GP7200 engine is a good illustration of this. As soon as Air France decided that it would power its A380s with the GP7200, Air France Industries and CRMA decided to play a major role on the market in overhauls for this engine type.

A contract signed in 2007 between Engine Alliance and General Electric on the one hand and Air France and CRMA on the other is allowing CRMA to position itself to maintain three components: TCF modules, combustion chambers, and the electrical harness. “Today we are the Primary Source for these components, in other words the world’s sole service provider for this type of repairs,” purrs José-Marie Louis. “As a result, as far back as August 2008, when the first A380 went into revenue service, CRMA implemented a series of industrialized repair processes. This is the first time that CRMA has been first mover for repairs, and it is now up to us to retain that unique position.”

The GP7200 venture has also made it possible to develop new types of partnership with manufacturers. It proved necessary to co-develop processes with GE and MTU, the manufacturer of the TCF module, and those discussions enabled CRAM to boost its reputation on the market and to gauge its know-how against the expertise of the manufacturers. “This first engine also gave us an opportunity to test out all the processes implemented, and notably the logistics to supply us with spare parts, which is the responsibility of the manufacturer. This enabled us to pinpoint scope for improvement at the manufacturer’s, and more generally to get some initial feedback.” The other winner in this operation is Air France itself. Used to trialling new repair processes for its own internal use before the new repair process is offered to customers, this time round it will benefit from the experience acquired during the first off-wing repairs for other airlines. “The activity on the GP7200 will grow steadily until 2013-2014, and then ramp up further as the first engines that went into service start needing maintenance,” adds José-Marie Louis. “This strategy of being open to the outside market will allow us to optimize our industrial base. It confirms our positioning on new-generation engines and, more particularly, in the field of Very Big Engines.”