Rolls-Royce: Striving for Engine Support Perfection

Can the challenge of meeting and exceeding engine maintenance support expectations ever be truly complete? AvBuyer spoke with Rolls-Royce about the engine OEM’s efforts to enhance customer support and pursue perfection...

AvBuyer  |  28th July 2022
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    Rolls-Royce BizAv On-Wing services

    Since the very early days of Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce has been providing powerplants to the leading business jet OEMs, with Rolls-Royce engines today providing the power for some of the quickest, and longest-range private jets available on the new and pre-owned markets.

    Nowadays, there are more than 3,300 Rolls-Royce-powered bizjets in operation around the world. Given the propensity for OEMs building large cabin and long-range aircraft to select Rolls-Royce engines as their powerplants – the types of jets appealing to operators in many of the world’s developing Business Aviation markets – the maintenance and support requirements of owners and operators is spread far and wide around the planet.

    That’s a testament to the success of the engines, but also a challenge to Rolls-Royce, which needs to ensure owners and operators enjoy seamless support, irrespective of whether they’re based in a region where the nearest qualified maintenance support is only a couple of hours away, or they’re in a remote area of the world where support and parts are scarce, and an Aircraft On Ground (AOG) event has the potential to be highly problematic.

    How does Rolls-Royce manage to keep its global customer base happy and flying? AvBuyer got in touch to find out...

    AvBuyer: How are the needs of business jet owners and operators changing today regarding engine maintenance, compared to five or ten years ago? And how has Rolls-Royce been responding with the support it offers?

    Rolls-Royce: If you go back ten years, our targets looked different than today. Back then it required several days to solve a standard AOG situation.

    Today, Rolls-Royce Business Aviation is aiming for 100% ‘averted missed trips’ – meaning no private aircraft running on Rolls-Royce engines and covered by a CorporateCare (or CorporateCare Enhanced) agreement is kept on the ground long enough to delay a planned flight.

    At the moment, we average more than 99% averted missed trips. Even though we achieved 100% averted missed trips for a full month in March this year, we will only be satisfied when we are consistently achieving this month in, month out. Our pursuit of perfection continues.

    Exploiting digital technologies to further enhance reliability and customer experience is key to getting to 100% aircraft availability. We recognized this early on and introduced a new engine health monitoring system, including an engine vibration health monitoring unit (EVHMU) which can monitor about 10,000 data points in an engine’s operation that, when analysed, could give us advance indication of a potential problem.

    Being able to see problems before they actually occur allows us to proactively resolve the issue, thus avoiding any AOG at all.

    When you're asking what to do about that last one percent, part of the equation is going to be our new engine vibration monitoring system. Also, we’re utilizing machine learning (otherwise called AI). Effectively, we’re learning from experience and letting technology do the work for us.

    The newest Rolls-Royce engines designed for business aircraft – known as the Pearl family – are already equipped with advanced remote engine diagnostics and bidirectional communications, both of which make it the first IoT-enabled aero engine family, with easy to reconfigure engine-monitoring features from the ground. But increasingly more sophisticated and better-performing technology is in development.

    AvBuyer:  After 20 years of providing CorporateCare hourly engine maintenance coverage for business jets with Rolls-Royce powerplants, you recently rolled-out CorporateCare Enhanced. What was the thinking behind this, and what’s the industry demand been like for the Enhanced program?

    Rolls-Royce BizAv mechanic providing on-wing services


    Rolls-Royce:  We recognize the unique nature of our customers in this market, and through extensive dialogue with them we have a clear understanding of what is important in their operation.

    Therefore, we created a dedicated Business Aviation organization that understands the needs of customers who use their aircraft as time machines. It is critical to minimize disruption at the time of an event and return the aircraft to service as soon as possible.

    Of course, before you can meet an expectation, you must know what it is. And with business aircraft operators, no two are the same. One of the major channels for hearing our customers’ voices is Rolls-Royce’s Corporate Customer Council (C3). We start by listening to what our customers want and expect from us.

    We take that feedback to heart and use it to create and implement strategies as well as changes that will benefit the customer. That is one of our key differentiators in the Business Aviation market.

    One example of how the Corporate Customer Council has helped shape Rolls-Royce’s service offerings is C3’s influence on the development and launch of the CorporateCare Enhanced program.

    CorporateCare Enhanced offers substantial financial and operational benefits to customers, such as increased asset value and liquidity, mitigating maintenance cost risk and protection against unforeseen costs and unscheduled events anywhere in the world.

    Increased aircraft availability, reduced management burden, full risk transfer, direct priority access to the Rolls-Royce services infrastructure and remote site assistance are further benefits for our customers.

    Since we launched our CorporateCare Enhanced service in 2019, we have seen strong demand from customers around the world, who clearly recognize the value of this program. Demand was further confirmed by the recent capture of the 1,000th CorporateCare Enhanced contract.

    CorporateCare Enhanced offers an unrivalled, comprehensive coverage for the full powerplant, including engine and nacelle, and priority access to our dedicated Business Aviation Service Network. Our customers love the mindset of CorporateCare Enhanced, which can be summarized as: ‘If we provide it, we cover it’.

    AvBuyer:  Speaking of enhancing engine support for operators, what are some of the key developments Rolls-Royce has made to its support services network around the world for business jet customers recently?

    Rolls-Royce:  [As mentioned above] what's unique about Rolls-Royce is that we have a dedicated Business Aviation unit. This unit includes its own services organization, purposely set up to assist the special needs of Business Aviation clients, which differ from those in commercial aviation.

    The main difference is our powerful services infrastructure and our relentless drive to never let a customer miss a planned trip.

    The global network of Authorized Service Centers (ASCs) forms an essential component of Rolls-Royce’s services portfolio for business aircraft and adds to its own existing global aftermarket capabilities.

    Rolls-Royce has more than 75 ASCs in place with key maintenance providers worldwide – the largest in Business Aviation – allowing for rapid response times to our customers’ needs. The powerful service infrastructure of the ASCs is complemented by On-Wing Services (pictured above) specialists in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia as well as a number of spare parts, lease engine and storage locations, all placed strategically around the world.

    We have more than 70 technicians around the world, and our goal is to have an On-Wing Services team identified and ready within four hours of a call, and to be on-site in under 12 hours. So, from going AOG to having a team on site with tools and parts should be no more than 16 hours, no matter where the aircraft is positioned. This makes our global support unique.

    AvBuyer:  How do you see the maintenance needs of business aircraft owners and operators changing in the short- and mid-term future, and how will Rolls-Royce be ready to meet these?

    Rolls-Royce:  As already mentioned, time is often at a premium for our customers, so availability and reliability of the aircraft are more and more essential. Digital tools, from robotics and cloud-based analytics to big data will continue to play an increasingly large role in delivering exceptional levels of aircraft availability, as well as providing peace-of-mind for our customers.

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