The CFM International LEAP-1B engine, used by Boeing. (Safran)
FADEC Alliance has signed a 25-year agreement with Lufthansa Technik to supply engine controls for the LEAP engines which power the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus A320neo and new Comac 919 airplanes.
FADEC Alliance is a five-year-old joint venture between GE Aviation and FADEC International, itself a collaboration between BAE Systems and Safran. Meanwhile, the LEAP engine is made by CFM International, which is a joint venture between Safran and GE.
As the name implies, FADEC Alliance handles full-authority digital engine controls (FADEC) for CFM's LEAP engines. Under the new agreement with Lufthansa Technik, the two companies share a pool of resources for LEAP engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work. The goal is to keep a stock of line-replaceable FADEC units, which Lufthansa Technik will manage, that either company can access and use to improve MRO services to customers globally.
“The exceptional FADEC Alliance products are crucial for operators and timely availability of spare parts is of utmost importance,” said Burkhard Pfefferle-Tolkiehn, Lufthansa Technik's vice president of Asia Pacific & Fulfillment, Component Services in a statement.
The companies do not plan to make the financial terms of the agreement public, but did reveal that they would use the engine controls for support agreements, loans and exchanges across their airline customer bases.
"FADEC Alliance identified Lufthansa Technik as the ideal partner for LEAP MRO activities because its expertise in technical aircraft services perfectly complements FADEC Alliance's strengths as the LEAP engine control OEM," FADEC Alliance CEO Steve McCullough said in an email to Avionics International. "Working together, we are able to leverage each company’s abilities to provide world-class support to our customers."
The deal, which took effect at the end of 2018, was immediately attractive to both companies, according to McCullough, because it is mutually beneficial. "The details took a while to work out, but the companies complement each other well so there was a clear path to an agreement from the start," he said.
Under the agreement, whose 25-year term "makes sense given the expected duration that the LEAP engine control will be manufactured," according to McCullough, Lufthansa Technik will establish a LEAP FADEC MRO center in Hamburg, Germany, while FADEC Alliance provides technical support and MRO services in Massy, France and Fort Wayne, Indiana, the two current LEAP FADEC MRO locations. McCullough said that the companies would establish additional repair facilities based on customer need.
While the current deal concerns only engine controls for LEAP engines, there's a chance that could change in the future.
"FADEC Alliance and Lufthansa Technik will evaluate future opportunities as they arise," McCullough said.