German Piaggio operator AirGO has received approval from Pratt & Whitney Canada such that the PT6A-66B engines powering its fleet of Piaggio Avanti II and EVO aircraft now have an extended TBO interval up from 3,600 to 4,100 hours or 12 years, whichever occurs first. This effectively increases the engine lifetime by 14 per cent.
"We can also provide this increase for used aircraft as long as more than 50 per cent of their flying takes place in our fleet," says managing director Daniela Flierl. "So as long as an aircraft has no more than 1,800 hours with an external company, it is OK. And this also applies to aircraft that come under our management."
She goes on to say that for a corporate organisation flying 100 hours a year the extension means it could gain up to an extra five years of operations, subject to the maximum time limit, while a commercial operator could get an extra year. "Our aircraft fly between 500 and 600 hours a year, and we see the market picking up, so it is possible we may fly more than this in future years," she adds.
This arrangement also applies to the EVO, to every new aircraft, every overhauled aircraft and to any aircraft which has less than 1,800 hours and is managed by AirGO. The company has already been selling engine overhauls as it has been operating this type for more than 15 years. The TBO extension came about after a recent overhaul where Pratt & Whitney Canada looked at the engines, made some calculations and discovered the engines were in such good condition that the aircraft could safely continue to fly for another 500 hours.
"This TBO extension is huge news for us because it represents real money," Flierl adds. While every engine overhaul incurs differing costs, they can be in the region of around 120,000 Euros but the extension ensures that the maintenance reserve per hour is improved. "It lowers the cost for everybody, and we can keep some more in reserve from every hour we sell on the charter market.”