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January 2016

TAP adds sharklets bookmark

TAP Maintenance & Engineering (TAP M&E) will modify 12 Airbus A320s of parent TAP Portugal with Sharklets. TAP is investing €11 million in the programme and expects to break even – at current fuel prices – in around 30 months. The Sharklets provide a 4% reduction in fuel consumption and add 36,000 flying hours to each aircraft’s operational life. The programme to modify the 12 aircraft began on 7 December and is expected to be concluded by late 2017.


The modification is a major challenge and entails replacing approximately 10,000 connections per aircraft, combined with the removal of 20% of the metallic structure of the wing. This is then replaced with new, more structurally resistant components. The camber on the underside of the wing has to be structurally reinforced along approximately 60% of its length because of alterations to the distribution of forces along the wingspan. Several of the avionics components also need to be updated to take account of the wing’s new aerodynamic configuration. Aircraft have to be grounded for about 20 days or 3,600 man hours to allow the different teams of specialists to complete the modification, particularly regarding the structures, but also the avionics and other aircraft systems.


The Sharklets installation needs tools and equipment developed by Airbus specifically for this modification, including the wing geometry alignment tool that ensures the correct installation of new structural components. TAP M&E also invested in more technologically sophisticated tools, such as equipment for removing connections by electrical discharge (e-drill), which allows the work to be done faster. It is the first company in Europe, and only the second in the world, to introduce Sharklet technology.

Rolls-Royce and Delta sign BR715 MRO deal bookmark

Rolls-Royce and Delta TechOps have signed an agreement for the establishment of BR715 overhaul capability in Atlanta, GA, during 2016. Delta Air Lines began operating BR715 powered Boeing 717s in 2013 and is the largest operator of this aircraft type with 91 entering into service.


The agreement is part of the ongoing strategic plan for Rolls-Royce to develop a competitive and capable network to meet customers’ needs. Earlier this year Delta TechOps joined the Rolls-Royce Trent Service Network as an Approved Maintenance Centre and will provide engine overhaul services for the Trent XWB and Trent 7000 engines for Delta Air Lines and other customers.

Boeing goes for freighters bookmark

Boeing has announced an agreement with China Postal Airlines for 10 Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCFs), pending a programme launch. The 737-800BCF is the first Next-Generation 737 that Boeing will offer for conversion. China Postal Airlines joins Hangzhou-based YTO Airlines as a launch customer for the Boeing BCF programme. YTO signed an agreement in September 2015.


China Postal’s agreement also includes the purchase of seven Boeing 757-200s that the airline plans to convert into freighters. 

Boeing has also delivered the first of five 767-300 BCFs to SF Airlines of China. The delivery took place at Boeing supplier SASCO in Singapore, where the conversion was performed. The airline will receive the remaining aircraft during the next year.

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