Greg Macleod explains to MRO Management why investments in sustainability initiatives and workforce development are key priorities for GT Engine Services.
Founded in 2010, GT Engine Services (GTES) was formed around supporting engine lease companies, with a strategic decision to locate the business in South East England, within easy reach of the major airports and ferry ports.
We created a purpose-built workshop at Stansted Airport with a small, experienced team. During the early days, our offering was very much about looking after the engine leasing companies with QEC builds, end-of-lease checks and storage.
Our mainstay was the CFM56, but we soon got inquiries from carriers. While this was to be similar work, there were additional requirements involved with keeping engines operationally serviceable, and so we started services such as top case repairs and QEC swaps. Working with diverse types of customers and at an increasing amount helped reduce the seasonality issues of the business.
Fast forward a few years – what does GTES now offer? We have 16 fully equipped engine bays and our main engine is still the CFM56, but now mostly the -5 and -7. We have also invested heavily in the Leap-1A and 1B. We now have three main offerings:
1 Maintenance: this involves end-of-lease checks/off wing alignment checks and all the associated services that may need carrying out during a scheduled engine removal.
2 Repair: this is generally work carried out such as top case repairs module swaps or repairs, often referred to as hospital repairs or surgical strikes; over time we have purchased a complete suite of approved module tooling.
3 Storage: we offer what we consider to be premium storage, dehumidifying the facility and constantly monitoring the condition of the engines. We offer storage for up to 150 narrowbody engines, with 24-hour Aircraft On Ground (AOG) despatch.
We are never going to be a clean industry, but we can try and clean up our part of it. We have invested heavily in solar power, which was lucky as our supplier doubled our energy costs per unit earlier in the year without warning.
Because of this issue, we have recently invested in brand new battery technology to try and harness that PV power. While building this new infrastructure, we installed EV charging points for the staff and launched a green vehicle scheme. We also offer a lift share incentive and cycle to work scheme. Other initiatives include waste reduction workshops that have proved very worthwhile.
As the famous adage goes, it is all about the team. We have spent a lot of time over the past 18 months discussing the vision and values with the team, a cross-section of which produced our new values that now drive us forward:
- Customer driven: understanding their needs, exceeding expectations
- One team: together we succeed, divided we fail
- Respect and integrity: treating colleagues, customers and partners respectfully, operating with the highest integrity
- Embracing change: accepting that change is a constant
- Passion: taking ownership, driving performance.
These values are embraced by the team and they are proud to follow them. We have introduced a quarterly Value Champion award which is voted for by the team and this has transformed the business culture.
We take the development of our team incredibly seriously, removing training bonds, allowing people to better themselves without feeling they are shackled to the company. We offer on-the-job technical training as well as management and leadership training. We also work very closely with the Stansted Airport College, selecting apprentices that are the best fit and nurturing them in their new career – this has been immensely successful.
Bonding within the team is very important. As well as the regular social events, we hold sporting challenges which have helped raise valuable funding for local charities.
What are the results of these changes? Strong sustainable growth, working with long-term partners to all of our advantages. Turnover alone has increased threefold since 2021, whilst maintaining good margins, and the headcount has almost trebled in the same period.
Many of the challenges we encounter will not come as a surprise – lack of skilled staff and inflation are two of the key issues, but supply chain issues also remain, although diminished. Interest rates have affected asset financing which has changed the landscape, and we find ourselves self-funding rather than being able to use institutional money.
The future as we see it is very much the narrowbody market. Leap engines are keeping us very busy; we always have at least four bays occupied by Leaps, but this is likely to ramp up to seven permanent bays in the new year. Whilst CFM56 engines are not going anywhere, we can continue extending life on these engines at very competitive rates. Our main base will remain at Stansted Airport, with other satellite bases to come, operating seven days a week and eventually 24 hours a day to satisfy our customers’ needs.
This advertorial feature was first published in MRO Management – November/December 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.