Delta opens massive engine repair shop at Hartsfield-Jackson

Shop has room to expand and could house hundreds of workers
Airframe and Power Plant mechanics work on a Gear Turbine engine in Delta's new facility Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Airframe and Power Plant mechanics work on a Gear Turbine engine in Delta's new facility Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Delta Air Lines opened a massive new engine repair shop Tuesday at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, a facility that will play a critical role in speeding up complex and expensive jet engine repairs.

The 155,000-square-foot facility off M H Jackson Service Road will house more than 100 mechanics, who will have the ability to disassemble and repair hundreds of Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines each year, Delta officials said. The shop expands the Atlanta-based airline’s TechOps facilities, which was already the largest airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation in North America.

Don Mitacek, senior vice president of Delta TechOps and President of Delta Technical Services Group, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that more space was needed for engine assembly. He added that the new shop will help streamline the process, allowing engines to return to the sky more quickly.

“It’s all about how fast you can bring the engine in, disassemble it, repair the parts, assemble it and get it to the test site,” he said.

Airframe and Power Plant mechanics work on a Gear Turbine engine in Delta's new facility Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

GTF engines, which are made by Pratt & Whitney, power Delta’s fleet of Airbus A321neo and A220 airliners. The new shop’s maintenance services will also serve roughly 150 other airlines that use GTF engines.

A large section of the shop used to be part of DeltaOps’ cargo facilities. Mitacek said engine maintenance is expensive and speeding up the process was deemed a priority. Disassembled engines will be transported to Delta TechOps technical operation center across the street, where the parts will be repaired and returned to the new shop for reassembly.

“What you see here (in the new GTF shop) is just a tiny fraction of the capabilities to overhaul an engine,” Mitacek said.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the shop expands Georgia’s aerospace footprint, which is the state’s second-largest manufacturing industry with more than 800 aerospace companies’ facilities. There were more than $10 billion in aerospace exports in 2021, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian talks with people after a Ribbon-cutting at deltas new Geared Turbofan shop Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023  (Steve Schaefer/steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

icon to expand image

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Bastian said the new shop will have room for expansion and can create thousands of jobs over the next few years as it ramps up maintenance capabilities. At Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Bastian said the shop will soon be abuzz with mechanics.

“I look forward to getting this place dirty — it’s way too clean in here,” he joked.

Delta, the state’s top private employer with 35,000 workers, reported a $1.3 billion profit during 2022, marking a strong rebound for travel following the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike McBride, vice president of operations for Delta TechOps, said the new repair shop will eventually have the ability to repair up to 450 engines each year.

“As the supply chain gets healthier, I think these teams will show just how quick these engines can be turned,” he said.

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