Delta TechOps has unveiled the largest jet engine test facility in the world, next to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, as part of the company’s bid to expand its engine maintenance business.
Delta spent more than US$100 million on the new facility, which is the the first to be built by a U.S. airline in more than 20 years. The noise-insulated concrete facility can test-run a jet engine at full power.
The 48-foot engine test facility has a thrust capacity of 150,000 pounds, which is more than double that of Delta’s previous test cell. It may be recalled that in August 2018, the company opened a new engine repair shop nearby. Rolls-Royce has entered into an agreement with Delta TechOps to fix and perform scheduled maintenance on some of its engines. The new test facility can handle several of its Trent engines, including the Trent 1000.
Delta has plans to grow its MRO business eight-fold over the next five years by not only fixing its own planes but taking up more maintenance work of aircraft belonging to other carriers. Currently, the MRO business is only a small part of the Delta overall revenue; Delta TechOps had a revenue of US $700 million last year, compared to the company’s overall revenue of over US$44 billion. The airline expects to grow TechOps’ revenue by $1 billion a year for the next five years, company officials said recently.
According to consulting firm Oliver Wyman, global MRO revenue is expected to touch US$82 billion this year and will likely rise to US$116 billion by 2029,. The world’s fleet of aircraft is forecast to grow 42 percent to more than 39,000 planes by 2029.
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