The Mexican airline Interjet has deployed its SaM146-powered Superjet 100 regional jets since 2013. PowerJet, the company responsible for engine marketing and support, assigned a permanent Field Service Engineer (FSE) to this airline, Philippe Housset, who tells us about his job.
Why is the SaM146-powered SSJ100 so important to Interjet's development strategy?
From a business standpoint, Mexico offers significant headroom for growth in domestic air traffic, especially flights lasting one to two hours. The SaM146 was designed and optimized from the ground up for the SSJ100, and gives operators top performance over these distances. All operating data shows that the engine is especially fuel efficient, not to mention logging a dispatch reliability rate of 98.88%. The SSJ100 is also an easy-handling aircraft for its pilots, thanks in part to this engine. Because of these advantages, Interjet can offer frequent flights and fast turnaround: the aircraft with its twin SaM146 engines is ready to take off again just 20 minutes after landing. This is a considerable advantage for the airline in terms of its operating costs.
So you would say that Mexico is one of the core growth targets for PowerJet?
Interjet is a critical link in the SaM146 program, and that's why we have bolstered our local support: in fact, we just recruited a new Field Service Representative attached to SAMES* who's already my assistant and will eventually replace me.
Is the on-site presence of a Field Service Engineer (FSE) important for the airline?
Absolutely. No matter how things are organized, local presence and mutual trust with the customer are the keys to a good relationship. So it's only natural that PowerJet assign a permanent rep to its customer. This is all the more important for a relatively recent engine like the SaM146. At Interjet, the rep is only the visible part of the iceberg, the entry point that provides access to the whole support structure, via PowerJet, based on Customer Support Engineers and the Customer Support Center. This daily presence also goes beyond a simple customer-supplier relationship: we're really partners with Interjet.
How does this presence work on a daily basis?
The FSE provides technical support throughout the life of the product, starting with delivery, to help the customer familiarize himself with the product, then in service. We give our customers diagnostics aid as soon as an event occurs, or more broadly when a question arises, whether concerning a technical issue, documentation, logistics, etc. In this case, either the FSE answers directly, or he calls on the PowerJet experts network. In all cases, the rep has to be present, and focus on a single goal: to ensure the best possible dispatch reliability for the customer, under maximum flight safety conditions. It's a job that demands adaptability, excellent technical knowledge of the product and of course a team spirit. You have to be 100% PowerJet, to embrace the produce, and 100% for the customer to provide the solutions that meet his needs!
* Snecma America Engine Services (SAMES) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Snecma, located in Querétaro (Mexico) and specialized in MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul).
At the end of April, the SaM146 engines operated by Interjet reached 50,000 flight hours