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Hourly cost maintenance programs


Plans available from engine manufacturers and MROs.

By Owen Davies
Contributing Writer

GE Aerospace technicians work on a Passport engine that powers Global 7500 and 8500 bizjets. GE’s MX programs save not only costs but long waiting times for maintenance.

In our final look at hourly cost maintenance programs (HCMPs), we will see what engine manufacturers have to offer, and then examine the role of MROs, which carry out much of the work performed under maintenance contracts and derive much of their revenue from them.

HCMPs were born in the early days of executive jets. They were a response to problems with the Garrett TFE731 engines used in Learjet 35 and Dassault Falcon 10 jets. Dassault and Learjet reps complained that having the “Garrett grenade” explode on startup undermined their sales pitch.

Garrett sweetened the deal. Its pioneering maintenance program guaranteed the buyer’s investment would not be lost when the airplane was.

Decades later, the Garrett TFE731’s problems are ancient history. The engines live on as Honeywell’s highly reliable TFE731 family. Over the years, they have logged more than 100 million hours in the air. Yet, HCMPs also live on. If a company makes turbine or turboshaft engines, it offers maintenance contracts to help keep them in the air.

GE Aerospace

GE offers 2 tiers of HCMP. Its TrueChoice Flight Hour offerings allow a mix-and-match of features that can include full engine maintenance, scheduled and unscheduled engine removals, coverage of service bulletins (SBs) and airworthiness directives (ADs), guaranteed availability of spare engines, transportation or logistics support, foreign object debris (FOD) coverage, and line replaceable unit (LRU) coverage and availability. Cost structures can be tailored to minimize long-term cost of ownership, optimize short-term cash flow, or fit with lease requirements – whatever works best for the customer.

GE’s OnPoint program covers the entire propulsion system, including loaner engines, nacelles, and LRUs. The company’s Prognostic Health Management program is included to help minimize unexpected maintenance issues. OnPoint can also save operators a lot of waiting time. Customers not covered by OnPoint can expect to wait 60 to 90 days to enter an MRO shop for service, with a turn time of 120 to 200 additional days. Sign up for the OnPoint program, and all that delay goes away.

Honeywell Aerospace writes maintenance contracts for engines, nacelles, and avionics. Its basic Maintenance Service Plan (MSP) Propulsion covers almost all costs except for AOG events.

Honeywell Aviation

Honeywell’s Maintenance Service Plan (MSP) includes engine coverage. Known as MSP Propulsion, usage-based plans are available for APUs, HTF-series engines, and TFE731-20/40/50/60 powerplants. HTF7000 nacelle coverage is available as an option.

Honeywell tracks aircraft performance in flight, so operating their aircraft under optimal conditions earns customers a 10% discount on their hourly rate.

Basic MSP covers on-condition maintenance and routine inspection parts. Nearly all costs are covered for major periodic inspections, compressor zone inspections, and hot section period inspections. Also included are FOD gap coverage, engine conversions or upgrades at a discount, and other essentials.

MSP Gold adds AOG engine coverage; up to 20 hours of coverage for engine removal and reinstallation and/or access time; engine transport; exchange of engines, modules, and LRUs; and up to 20 hours for engine and LRU access, removal, and reinstallation.

Delete routine inspection labor from MSP Gold, and you have MSP Gold NRL. Similar programs are available for APUs.

P&WC Eagle Service Plan contracts are available for engines powering about 1/3 of the world’s business jets, helicopters, and turboprops. Here, a technician works on a PW615 turbofan.

Pratt & Whitney Canada

P&WC engines power about 1/3 of executive jets – call it 8000 aircraft – as well as some 6600 King Airs, and business helicopters by Airbus, Bell, Leonardo, and Sikorsky.

For its operators, P&WC offers the Eagle Service Plan (ESP). All ESP contracts include engine overhaul or refurbishment, hot section inspection, basic unplanned engine or accessory removal, limited troubleshooting labor, SBs, lease engine support, and trend monitoring.

The ESP Gold Package adds troubleshooting labor as required, removal and installation coverage, AOG service by the company’s mobile repair teams, and freight.

Where available, the ESP Platinum Package covers routine periodic inspections and repair of environmental damage. Additional services may be available, depending on the engine model.

Two attractive benefits reward operators who enroll a new PT6A engine in ESP – P&WC covers the engine free for the first 400 hours of operation or 2 years from the date of aircraft delivery, whichever comes first (worth as much as $70,000). And if the plane has a few hours on it, the ESP Flex Option lets a new owner defer up to half of the buy-in payment until the first overhaul or sale of the aircraft. Better yet, ESP requires no minimum number of annual flight hours. What you fly is what you pay for.

Rolls-Royce technician works on a BR710. Some 70% of bizjets powered by the BR710 engine are enrolled in the company’s CorporateCare and CorporateCare Enhanced maintenance programs.


The company has long offered CorporateCare maintenance contracts for its bizjet engines. Coverage includes labor and materials for scheduled shop visits, unscheduled visits for non-FOD damage, worldwide recovery of engines suffering an “unscheduled event” other than FOD, loaner engines plus the labor to swap original engines and loaners, transportation costs, removal and reinstallation labor for LRUs, and a repair/exchange service for line replaceable parts.

Rolls-Royce reports that 70% of business aircraft with the BR710 engine are enrolled in  CorporateCare. However, in 2019 Rolls introduced the CorporateCare Enhanced program for engines and nacelles on the BR710, BR725, and Pearl 15 powerplants.

Added features include AOG coverage; labor costs for shop visits, borescoping, and LRU work; travel and labor for mobile repair teams; nacelle work; engine change and transportation costs; and lease engines. Maintenance contracts are supported by a worldwide network of 22 company shops and roughly 90 authorized service centers.

Williams International

Williams’s HCMPs are branded Total Assurance Plus (TAP). Most aircraft with Williams engines are enrolled in TAP. The top-tier program, known as TAP Blue, amounts to a full engine warranty for as long as the aircraft is enrolled. If the engine needs something, TAP Blue covers it – even oil at the oil change.

Most aircraft powered by Williams International engines are enrolled in the company’s Total Assurance Program. Operators consistently rate it the best MX program available.

TAP Blue is available for the FJ33 and FJ44 engines, which power most Cessna Citation bizjets and the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. Pilatus adds a TAP Blue contract as an option in its CrystalCare program for the PC-24.

Williams operates 9 full-service maintenance and repair facilities in the US and Canada, and 2 in Europe. More than 40 MROs in North America are authorized to perform less extensive service – including 2 in Mexico – and 33 more around the world.

MRO services

Pro Pilot Canadian Technical Editor Don Van Dyke has looked closely at the MRO market twice in less than a year. (See “Turbine engine aftermarket MRO,” Dec 2022, p 44, and “The changing MRO aftermarket,” Oct 2022, p 46). Therefore, this look at the MRO’s contribution to aftermarket service will be brief.

Most MROs earn their piece of the $77-billion market solely from wrenching and  other hands-on work – some of it for their own customers and some under an OEM’s maintenance program. We will look at 2 such operations. However, let’s begin with a company that competes with the OEMs – Jet Support Services, Inc (JSSI).

JSSI writes its own maintenance contracts under the Tip-To-Tail brand. Many customers clearly find its offerings attractive. Tip-To-Tail features include 24/7 worldwide maintenance support; scheduled and unscheduled maintenance; a troubleshooting labor allowance; rental costs; repair and replacement of parts, components, and assemblies; work needed to comply with SBs and ADs; consumables; standard freight; priority shipping for AOG events; access to a mobile repair team; nacelle coverage; and access to JSSI’s engine and APU lease pool. For customers who find this coverage excessive, there is also a parts-only option.

For JSSI, competing with the OEMs has been a winning strategy. Maintenance contracts and a flourishing parts and leasing business give JSSI estimated annual revenues of $170 million – some $403,000 for each of its 422 employees.

Duncan Aviation is a typical MRO in many ways, but it’s unique in others. The largest family-owned MRO in the industry, it operates 3 full-service facilities, 21 satellite repair stations (6 of them offering rapid response service for AOG events), and 9 avionics line maintenance service facilities.

OEM warranty work was a natural progression for the company. “Duncan Aviation was an authorized dealer for many OEMs before warranty programs came into being,” a spokesperson says. “When these programs were launched, we began working with them.”

Duncan sells and prepares warranty contracts for all the most popular business aircraft, from the Pilatus PC-24 to the Boeing BBJ series. Other aircraft covered include Bombardier’s product lines; Gulfstream aircraft; Textron’s Cessna, Hawker, and King Air lines; Dassault Falcons; and Embraer’s executive jets.

The company provides contract maintenance for Collins Aerospace and Honeywell avionics, and for engines made by GE, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce, and Williams International. It also works with JSSI’s engine programs.

As a private company, Duncan Aviation is not required to disclose its revenues, but outside estimates range from $300 million all the way to $720 million.

StandardAero Business Aviation has worked with OEM programs for decades, according to President Tony Brancato. He estimates that 60% to 70% of the firm’s work is supported by an OEM or by JSSI. StandardAero has a broad base of maintenance programs to keep it busy. It is an authorized service center for Dassault Falcon and Embraer Legacy aircraft, the Honeywell HTF7000 and TFE731 engines, the PWC PW300, and the Rolls-Royce AE 3007. It handles OEM-supported maintenance for Bombardier Learjets and Globals, Cessnas and Hawkers, and Gulfstream aircraft. Add to this Honeywell and Collins avionics, and almost all models of Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce engines.

This diversity may help explain StandardAero’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recovery period. Brancato reports that business dropped off immediately when the pandemic began. However, a few months later, while the boss was working from home, customers from the aviation departments began coming in to get work done. “Six months into Covid, that was one part of air travel that really took off,” he says. Well into 2023, he is still seeing business 10% to 15% above pre-Covid-19 levels.

Final thoughts

This concludes our 3-part study of HCMPs. As we have seen,  deciding how much coverage a company needs, or whether to sign up with a maintenance program at all, can require a complicated balancing of factors.

In part 1 of this series, Eric Mitchelson, director of aviation at MPW Industrial Services, said the company pays to maintain its Cessna Citation CJ3+ as the bills come in. The CJ3+ is so reliable and its parts so cheap that a maintenance contract might cost more.

And Chief Pilot Everett Clark of Park City Aviators reported that many of the company’s aircraft are maintained under separate contracts for airframes, engines, and avionics. He found that having each component maintained by its manufacturer saves the company a lot of money. Food for thought when your company next needs to arrange maintenance for a new aircraft.

OwenOwen Davies is a veteran freelance writer specializing in technology. He has been a futurist at Forecasting International and TechCast Global.