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Major structural repair on an A321

Major structural repair on an A321: Lufthansa Technik Philippines helps Philippine Airlines’ aircraft return to service

On 20 December 2016, A Philippine Airlines Airbus 321-200 suffered serious scrape damage upon landing in Cebu.

Unfortunately, no facility was available at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport to support immediate repairs. A team from LTP’s Aircraft Maintenance Department flew to Cebu to perform preservation tasks on the two-month-old A321 (RP-C9928). Without a proper repair facility, RP-C9928 was bound to be grounded for a while.

PAL and LTP jointly embarked on the process of evaluation and facility preparation. “It was important to implement the repairs right away, but we also had to consider the environment in which it will be repaired,” says Jan Pfeil, LTP Vice President for Aircraft Maintenance. “The airport in Cebu does not have the equipment or facility for repairs of that scale. The aircraft needed to be jacked, and in that position, it would be vulnerable to the wind and other elements.”

To address this, PAL sourced a portable hangar from abroad which was shipped directly to Cebu. The hangar was erected in 6 weeks, after which Airbus mechanics started the repair work on the damaged belly, while LTP performed the restoration, close up and tests.

Finally, on July 11, RP-C9928 flew to Manila as a utility flight. At LTP's main facility, additional tests were performed.

On July 16, 2017, RP-C9928 was able to return to service. Joseph Barrientos of PAL-AED Systems and Structures Division who was the onsite engineer at Cebu, said: “We appreciate the great teamwork and contribution of LTP in returning RP-C9928 back to airworthiness. The work performed was extensive. It is an achievement after our joint efforts, to get the aircraft finally flying.”

RP-C9928 is less than a year old. It joined the PAL fleet on October 25, 2016.

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