La Muñoza at Madrid´s Barajas Airport: the Hub of Commercial Aircraft Maintenance in Spain


It´s been proven that air travel is the safest out there. that exists, but how are its engines checked and repaired? Here we take a look at one of the most amazing spaces in the world of aviation: La Muñoza, some ten kilometres (just under seven miles) from Barajas, where Iberia´s maintenance facilities handle the engines, aircraft, and components not just of our own fleet but also more than a hundred third-party clients. It´s is a benchmark in aeronautical maintenance in southern Europe for narrow-body aircraft.

A Unique Space

The engine workshop of Iberia Maintenance – part of the International Aero Engines (IAE) network of engine repair shops, a consortium of four aircraft engine manufacturers – covers 25,000 square metres (nearly 269,100 sq. feet) of surface area, plus a test facility, and on its roof there´s a power plant generating 80 million kilowatt hours – the equivalent of the consumption of 800 homes.

Expert Technicians

Around 650 people work in the Iberia engine workshop, all of them highly qualified, and there are around 3,000 workers in all of La Muñoza. The work they do is extraordinarily specialised, complying with strict security protocols.

The Phases of Engine Checks 

The engine overhaul process is divided into several perfectly structured phases. First the engine is disassembled. Then all parts are cleaned and inspected one by one. The defects found in it or the damaged parts are repaired (if necessary) and they are prepared to be reassembled.

Next comes the assembly of the engine: first modular, then final, followed by the last essential step of the engine going to the test facility to certify that it´s in optimal flight condition.

This brief description cannot capture the idea of ​​the perfect synchronisation of the human teams and sophisticated equipment which carry out work in the hangar of La Muñoza using the principles of “lean manufacturing” which aim to maximise safety, quality, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and employee morale, amongst other factors.

Types of Engines Checked

Iberia Mantenimiento carries out aeronautical maintenance tasks not only for our own engines and aircraft but also provides services to third-party clients; in fact, 70 percent of the engines service do not belong to Grupo Iberia. Currently, the types of engines that are overhauled and repaired are the following:

  • CFM56: Used in the Airbus 320 and the Boeing 737, this model has been handled by Iberia Maintenance since 1992, now constituting a third of the total number of engines checked/repaired at La Muñoza.
  • V2500:  This model powers, among others, aircraft of of the Airbus 320 family, and represents more than 50 percent of the engines on which the facility works.
  • RB211-535: This one is mounted on some Boeing models (specifically the 747, 757, and 767), and Iberia Mantenimiento is the world’s largest independent repair centre which handles it – in fact, it´s one of the world´s few workshops which work with this type of engine at all. Among the specialised equipment here is an automated robot configured exclusively for Iberia Maintenance.

Working with the Engines of Today – and Tomorrow

Aircraft engines can be divided between traditional ones and those which will propel the fleets of the future. The three mentioned above fall into the traditional category, the ones mostly used today. But there´s a fourth engine serviced here, the PW1100G, which is one of the engines of the future. In addition Iberia Maintenance is working to obtain the licence that will allow them to work another cutting-edge model, the high-bypass turbofan CFM International LEAP (“Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion”), five times more durable and up to 25 percent lighter than its predecessors due to the alloys used for its manufacture. This engine is being installed, among other models, on the Airbus A320 Neo. Work like this is allowing Iberia Mantenance to remain at the forefront of the sector for years to come.


Photo |  NaiyanaDonraman