From airmail carrier to global player

The beginnings of US Airways were humble: The company, then known as All American Aviation, started operations back in 1939, delivering airmail to small western Pennsylvania and Ohio Valley communities. Ten years later, the airline was renamed All American Airways and made the transition from airmail to passenger service, operating a Douglas DC-3. All American Airways then started to boom and quickly grew into Allegheny Airways, US Air and finally US Airways after several buyouts and mergers. For 20 years now, US Airways has been relying on the expertise of MTU Maintenance.

11.2013 | Text: Nicole Geffert

Professional, trusting and dependable—Christoph Heck, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, the Americas at MTU Maintenance Hannover does not have to think twice when asked to describe the collaboration with US Airways. The airline has been a customer of MTU Maintenance since 1993. At that time, it placed a contract for the main­ten­ance of its V2500 engines—an agreement which will continue to run for some time. In 2011, MTU Maintenance won another contract from US Airways, covering MRO ser­vices for the airline’s General Electric CF6-80s. “To date, we have repaired over 300 US Airways engines in our shop,” says Heck.

This summer, MTU Maintenance Hannover completed the 1,500th overhaul of a CF6-80, an engine sent in by US Airways. Since this shop visit also marked the 20th an­ni­ver­sary of the business partnership between US Airways and MTU Maintenance, a dele­gation of high-level US Airways executives was more than happy to accept MTU’s invitation to visit the Hannover location and celebrate this event together. “We are very pleased to be sharing this special moment with one of our longest-standing and closest customers,” said Dr. Stefan Weingartner, President, Commercial Maintenance at MTU Aero Engines. “Maintenance of the CF6-80 is one of the mainstays of our busi­ness. The engine has been overhauled in Hannover, MTU’s first maintenance location and center of excellence for the repair of large and medium-sized engines, for almost 25 years. We are very confident that we will continue our success with this engine over the next years.”

“We have an excellent and very trusting cooperation with MTU Maintenance,” stressed David Seymour, Senior Vice President, Technical Operations at US Airways. “I am looking forward to further extending our partnership under the flag of the new American Airlines, after the merger has been realized between US Airways and American Airlines.” The combined airline has placed firm orders for 600 new aircraft, which it claims will lead it to have one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry and is a good basis for further investments in technologies, products and ser­vices. The new American Airlines will offer more than 6,700 flights a day to 336 des­tin­ations in 56 countries, and will maintain all hubs currently served by American Airlines and US Airways to be able to provide customers with an even more extensive range of travel options.

A CF6-80 engine on the flowline at MTU Maintenance Hannover.

“The visit from US Airways is a clear indication that both parties are interested in con­tinuing the collaboration,” says Heck. The long-term partnership was given further impetus by a five-year contract for the maintenance of US Airways’ CF34-10E6 en­gines. This contract was signed by the two companies this summer and marks a new chapter in a story of successful cooperation. Up to 44 engines powering the airline’s Embraer E190 fleet will be maintained and repaired at MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg, which in 2002 was the first independent provider of maintenance ser­vices in the world to obtain a license for the repair and overhaul of General Electric’s CF34 series. The Ludwigsfelde facility is an authorized GE-CF34™ service provider and the first maintenance organization within this worldwide network to support and main­tain all three models of the engine: the CF34-3, CF34-8 and CF34-10. “US Airways is a long-standing, loyal MTU Maintenance customer,” affirms André Sinanian, MTU Maintenance Berlin-Branden-burg’s Managing Director & Senior Vice President. “With this new CF34-10 contract we’ve laid the foundations for a successful continuation of our business relationship.”

US Airways sends the CF34-10E6 engines that power its fleet of Embraer E190s to MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg for overhaul.

US Airways sends the CF34-10E6 engines that power its fleet of Embraer E190s to MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg for overhaul.

US Airways sends the CF34-10E6 engines that power its fleet of Embraer E190s to MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg for overhaul.

The high-tech repair techniques “made by MTU” guarantee first-class performance of the repaired parts, extending the service life of engines while keeping costs at an af­ford­able level. “Our high-tech repair processes are also used in the maintenance of V2500 and CF6-80 engines,” says Norbert Möck, Director, Engine Programs at MTU Maintenance Hannover. “For our customer US Airways we have developed special, flexible solutions to make sure that maintenance work is carried out as cost-effectively as possible. Such maintenance packages are available, for instance for the V2500-A1 engine powering the A320, which over many years has served as a faithful workhorse but is now aging and will gradually be retired over the coming years,” says Jay Aiken, Director, Marketing & Sales Americas at MTU Maintenance Hannover. During this outphasing period, airlines want to make best use of their engines’ residual service life. Möck comments: “In this phase, the low cost of repairs as compared with the prices of new parts and MTU’s expertise in procuring suitable engine-run parts help airlines optimize their maintenance costs until to the planned phase-out date is finally reached.”

US Airways largest Airbus fleet in the world

US Airways operates the largest Airbus fleet in the world.

Since its merger with America West Airlines in September 2005, US Airways has been the fifth biggest airline in the United States. Along with US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express, two wholly-owned subsidiaries, the airline operates over 3,200 flights a day to 203 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central and South America (as of summer 2013). It employs a staff of around 33,000 aviation professionals worldwide and operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus aircraft.

Together with its US Airways Express partners, US Airways carries some 80 million passengers each year and operates hubs in Charlotte, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Phoenix und Washington D.C. The fleet serving its main routes consists of Airbus A319, A320, A321 and A330 as well as Boeing 737, 757 and 767 aircraft. US Airways Express operates 285 regional jets and turboprop aircraft.

And the company is well on track for further growth, the next milestone being the merger with American Airlines.

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