“This facility will be around for the next 50 years,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Delta handles maintenance work on its own fleet of planes and engines, but it also makes money doing lucrative maintenance work for about 150 other airlines and airplane operators. Delta also opened a new engine repair shop in Atlanta last year.
Overhauling a small jet engine can cost an airline $1 million, while overhauling a large long-haul jet engine can be a multimillion-dollar project. Jet engines must be overhauled anywhere from every few years to every 10 years, depending on usage. The test cell is used after overhaul work to run the engine and monitor its performance before the engine is used again to fly.
A jet engine inside Delta’s engine test cell on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Atlanta.
Over the next five years, Delta said it expects to grow the annual revenue of its maintenance, repair and overhaul business by $1 billion.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., attended a Thursday ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Delta engine test cell, which is staffed by about 150 workers and is going through proving runs before ramping up to full operations this fall.