Tahsin İstanbullu, Pegasus Airlines Engineering and Planning Director, states that jet engines consume large amounts of lubricants and this brings high costs for airline companies. “In our aircraft, we prefer brands approved by all manufacturers. Besides, we consider their ease of supply, distributors’ ability to take immediate action, rapidly find solutions to problems, stocks and costs,” he says. İstanbullu emphasizes their expectations from oil manufacturers as technology is constantly advancing in the aviation sector and there is a need for more environmental and lower cost products. He adds, “Although it is hard, there should be new actors in the sector to boost competition.”
Aviation has an undoubtedly special place in the lubricant sector… As we all know, engine oil is highly important for an automobile, but it is even more vital for airplanes; because the aviation sector is shaped by advanced technology and intense competition. High costs urge airline companies to be more meticulous, prolong the lives of their aircraft, and maximize safety. Airline companies and
engine manufacturers, being aware of the fact that even a slight neglect may cause loss of lives and money, are fairly picky in terms of engine oils. Lubricant producers have been attaching more importance to this sector due to the increasing number of airlines across the world, emergence of new companies offering services in different segments, higher number of passengers and accordingly higher number of flights in recent years. We hosted Nyco in the cover story of a previous issue of the Lubricant World magazine, which is a worldwide lubricant company specialized in aviation oils. In this issue, we asked for the opinion of leading consumers of these products about the sector, and made an interview with Tahsin İstanbullu, Pegasus Airlines Engineering and Planning Director. Tahsin İstanbullu shared his thoughts about the importance of lubricants for an airline, their expectations as a major consumer, and their works within Pegasus.
Firstly, can you please tell us the size of your fleet and the distribution of aircraft types?
Pegasus fleet is composed of 60 Boeing 737800, 12 Airbus A320-200ceo, 4 Airbus A320- 200neo, and 1 Boeing 737-400 as of November 2016. Total number of aircraft is 77 in our fleet, and the average age is 5.5.
Last year, you started to receive consultancy services from Boeing technical advisors for the maintenance program optimization of new generation Boeing 737 aircraft. What contributions does this agreement make to your cost-effective aircraft performance and operations?
Pegasus has been using new generation Boeing 737 aircraft for a long time. Last year, we commenced a long-term work with the Boeing consultant team. In July 2015, we carried into effect the Optimized Maintenance Program (OMP) upon the approval of Directorate General of Civil Aviation. This program includes comprehensive analysis of our aircraft, such as the findings of maintenance and control works, or malfunctions that cause operational breakdown. Age and properties of the aircraft, our flight geography and operational base were taken into consideration. In this way, maintenance intervals which have been developed for allhave been optimized for us, and a less costly and more effective maintenance program has been put into practice. According to this program, our daily maintenance period has been increased from 48 to 72 hours, “A” level maintenance period from 1.5 to 4 months, and “C” level maintenance period from 2 to 3 years. With the increase in efficiency of maintenance works, cost of maintenance and equipment has decreased. Most importantly, technical-related delays and cancellation in flights have been minimized. As part of the project, efficiency of maintenance program periods is regularly analyzed by the Boeing team every year.
In one of our previous issues, we hosted Nyco in our cover story to underline the importance of new technology lubricants and the use of large quantities of lubricants in civil aviation. We would like to know your approach about the lubricants used in your fleet.
All aircraft in our fleet is equipped with the CFM engines. Engine and other part manufacturers specify which lubricants can be used in their engines and parts. When selecting lubricants, being approved by related engine and part manufacturers is the most important aspect showing the technical reliability of that lubricant. In addition, there are other important aspects such as the market share of the lubricant, the ease of buying and transporting from local distributors, capacity of those distributors to take immediate action and meet urgent demands, local distributors’ having that lubricant in stock, and the lubricant’s ability to be blended with other approved lubricants when obliged. Of course, we also need to consider the costs. Jet engines consume high amounts of oil; therefore engine oil is a major cost item for airlines.
How is your maintenance structure for the aircraft? How many personnel do you have in your team, and what are their qualifications?
We are dealing with organizational-level maintenance and troubleshooting procedures. We get service from other authorized companies for heavy maintenance on the basis of relevant maintenance agreements. Similarly, we have expert maintenance firms for intermediate-level maintenance of engines, landing gear and otherparts. Pegasus technical department consists of approximately 450 personnel. Our primary responsibility is to keep our aircraft always ready to fly. Our team carries out necessary maintenance works not only in our headquarters in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, but also in Antalya, İzmir, Cyprus (Ercan), Ankara, Kayseri, Trabzon, Dalaman, Bodrum and Adana where we are authorized. We
receive services from authorized third parties for all maintenance needs in other stations. A major part of our technical staff consists of well-educated, licensed technicians and expert-level aircraft, aerospace, mechanical, electrical and electronics
engineers. In addition, we have support teamsfor maintenance planning, technical purchasing, training, and depot.
What would you say about the aviation lubricants sector in Turkey and around the world? How does it look from the perspective of an airline company?
Chemical formulas for most of industrial engine oils have been created many years ago. But constantly new technologies are developed and new engine types are being manufactured. As an ever reliable and budget-friendly airline, we expect lubricant producers to work on new technologies, and produce fully compatible lubricants with new engine types, engine parts, and sealing materials in contact with the lubricant used in these parts.
Aviation lubricants evolve with the developing technology; what are your expectations for the future?
We expect more friendly products for the environment and human health. Vaporization rate and consumption amounts based on engine flight time should be lower than today’s lubricants. We need lubricants that will minimize the friction between rotating components in the engine, fully prevent corrosion in expensive parts of the engine, and will never cause coking. But the products should also
be long-life when offering all these properties.
Anything you would like to add?
Engine oil sector is a demanding sector, requiring the use of advanced technology and high costs for development. It’s not easy for new actors to enter this market but entry of new actors is highly necessary to lower the costs. Competition will contribute to the development of the sector.