Air France: Keeping Its APU's on Wing for the Long Haul

By Pratt & Whitney Customer Service

In commercial aviation, leading airlines need every advantage they can get to stay ahead. We spoke with Air France to discover how P&WC’s auxiliary power units and maintenance services support its business needs.

Reliably Supporting One of the World’s Leading Airlines

One of the world’s best-known airlines, Air France has established a global reputation for quality. Its mixed fleet of modern aircraft, with an average age of just 11 years, are carefully selected to ensure maximum dispatch availability.

The Air France fleet includes 119 Airbus A320 family aircraft and 10 Airbus A380 wide-body jets, respectively equipped with P&WC’s APS3200 and PW980 APUs. These deliver power for various on-ground operations while also serving as in-flight backup.

Air France started using these APUs over 20 years ago, and there are three key reasons it continues to have confidence in them today: reliable performance, dedicated support and strategic maintenance programs.


From a business perspective, availability is paramount, as Air France’s Patrick Gourlaouen, Buyer, tires and APUs, told Airtime. “What’s important for us is that our APUs remain on wing for as long as possible,” he says.

Our policy is to transport passengers safely and affordably. That means our equipment, including APUs, needs to be as reliable as possible and doesn’t cause any problems either during the flight or after the aircraft has landed.


The Advantages of Engine Oem Maintenance Support

As the designer and manufacturer of the APUs, P&WC is ideally positioned to optimize their performance and availability with dedicated support from the experts who understand these products best.

P&WC support personnel are in touch with Air France on a regular basis to discuss everything from fleet management issues, such as scheduling removals, to commercial matters such as contract administration. P&WC has provided training for Air France’s technical staff to enhance their understanding of APU line maintenance and performance trending. Its maintenance program with the airline also covers supplying line replaceable units.

I’ve found that P&WC provides us with quality service and listens to our needs. We don’t have any major issues with our APUs, thanks to their support in collaboration with our engineering team.


Pay-per-hour Plan Simplifies Customer Operations

One of the options available for APUs is an innovative pay-per-hour plan that allows the customer to make monthly payments based on the number of service hours. This makes it easier to manage ongoing payment costs. For Air France, that’s a game-changer. “The hourly rate is something I really like with the maintenance agreements we can get for products like APUs,” explains Patrick.

It’s a major advantage to know the price that we’re going to pay based on our utilization. The longer the APU stays on the aircraft, the better it is for P&WC and for us, so it’s a win-win relationship.


P&WC currently has over 7,000 APUs in service with over 100,000 million hours flown. This extensive track record is a testament to the quality of our product as well as the maintenance delivered in P&WC’s shops. This quality ensures that customers such as Air France can depend on their APUs’ performance—resulting in greater availability for their aircraft.

For some practical tips, read our Dos and Don’ts of APU Preventive Maintenance.