Engine operating cost is a major contributor to the direct operating cost of aircraft. Therefore, the minimization of engine operating cost per flight-hour is a key aspect for airlines to operate successfully under challenging market conditions.
The interaction between maintenance cost, operating cost, asset value, lease and replacement cost describes the area of conflict in which engine fleets can be optimized.
State-of-the-art fleet management is based on advanced diagnostic and prognostic methods on engine and component level to provide optimized long-term removal and work-scoping forecasts on fleet level based on the individual operation. The key element of these methods is a digital twin of the active engines consisting of multilevel models of the engine and its components. This digital twin can be used to support deterioration and failure analysis, predict life consumption of critical parts and relate the specific operation of a customer to the real and expected condition of the engines on-wing and at induction to the shop. The fleet management data is constantly updated based on operational data sent from the engines as well as line maintenance and shop data.
The approach is illustrated along the real application on the CFM56-5C, a mature commercial two-spool high bypass engine installed on the Airbus A340-300. It can be shown, that the new methodology results in major improvements on the considered fleets.