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Engine maintenance programs, are they worth it?

How do you keep jet engines up and running and in optimal condition? Enter jet engine maintenance programs, the unsung heroes that protect aircraft owners and jet operators from unforeseen costs.

August 25, 2023

If you were to look at a business jet or any airplane and pose the question “What is its most critically important part?”, you’d probably get dozens of different answers. Some people would say the avionics, and others would mention the landing gear. But practically speaking, behind every successful flight lies the heart of the aircraft: its jet engine.

Without it the airplane in question would be stranded on the ground and no one would be going anywhere. That being said, how do you keep jet engines up and running and in optimal condition, while they traverse the skies racking up countless air miles? Enter jet engine maintenance programs, the unsung heroes that protect aircraft owners and jet operators from unforeseen costs.

What are jet engine maintenance programs?

Jet engine maintenance programs, also commonly known as engine maintenance service agreements or engine maintenance assurance contracts, are comprehensive care programs that are offered both by jet engine manufacturers and third-party providers to aircraft owners and jet operators. A bit of a vague and short explanation, so let’s expand on that.

To put it simply - jet engine maintenance programs are comprehensive subscriptions for engine care that function as prevention against unforeseen costs. To an extent jet engine maintenance programs can even be considered as a form of savings program. Depending on the jet engine there is a certain amount per flight hour paid by the owner of the jet to the engine maintenance program provider. This amount is deferred, accumulated and at the time of the engine overhaul the owner does not have to foot the whole bill at once out of pocket. Often that amount can surpass a million dollars per overhaul or repair.

Are jet engine maintenance programs worth it?

As with all things this depends on a lot of factors and there are a lot of variables to consider such as your needs, how many flight hours your jet accumulates or how much you are willing to pay in monthly fees. Jet engine maintenance programs can come in different variations. The lowest maintenance programs often cover only a certain percentage of the maintenance value, or alternatively, cover just the cost of spare parts and materials. Meanwhile the best maintenance programs (and the most expensive) will cover almost all costs of maintenance, including the parts and the man hours of the service center.

This cost predictability provides jet owners or operators with a better understanding of costs associated with engine maintenance and allows them to budget accordingly. Beyond that, you can rely on expert support that will ensure that your jet engines are maintained according to industry standards and best practices. Often the providers have a global network of maintenance facilities, so you don’t have to worry whether you’ll be able to service your jet wherever it operates. And of course, let us not forget the reduced downtime. An aircraft that cannot fly is no good to anybody. Depending on your type of coverage some maintenance programs even offer loaner engines, so that can dramatically reduce your downtime while your engine gets overhauled.

Additionally, jet engine maintenance programs also have a positive impact on the resale value of the jet. Jets that are registered in a maintenance program often hold a higher resale value. That’s because enrollment in such programs usually provides assurance that the jet engines have been well-maintained and were afforded the care, they need so that they can run at optimal levels.

Choosing a jet engine maintenance program

Choosing a suitable jet engine maintenance program is not easy. However, as a rule of thumb most jet engine manufacturers usually provide maintenance programs as well. GE Aerospace has the GE OnPoint program, Rolls-Royce offers its RRCC, Honeywell Aerospace has its MSP and Williams International provides its services under its TAP program.

These are then divided into tiers that provide different levels of maintenance services and you can choose based on your needs. Pratt & Whitney’s ESP for example provides Standard, Gold, and Platinum tiers. Beyond engine manufacturers, you also have other providers such as the world-famous JSSI.

When choosing it is always important to consider the cost commitments, the specific terms and coverage options as well as the contractual obligations. And don’t forget to check what issues and maintenance are covered, certain repairs or upgrades might not be included.

Marian Jancarik - Jetron’s Managing Director.

Marian Jancarik

JETRON’s Managing director
Marian is more than 20 years in aviation. You can read about his career path here. In his free time, Marian loves to play golf, ski and spend some quality time with family and friends.

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