AAR’s growth in Europe is continuing at pace after the signing of another power-by-the-hour (PBH) component inventory management and repair services contract with Polish low-cost carrier (LCC) Enter Air.
Announced yesterday (September 5), the deal will see AAR provide with services on 19 of Warsaw-based Enter Air’s 737 aircraft, comprised of the classic and next-generation variety. While PBH announcements are common, the geographical location is another boon for a firm that has started similar agreements with a number of LCCs in the past few years.
The US-based aftermarket specialist’s intentions for the continent are well known, with a strategic focus on growing its PBH customer base in Europe along with other nearby regions such as the Middle East and Africa.
This focus has already brought an abundance of new business in 2016, particularly with LCCs which have long chose to outsource their maintenance requirements when compared to the more established flag carriers. Given many have healthy orders in place to expand their narrowbody fleets and seek greater flexibility, the lure of outsourcing looks more inevitable in the coming years.
Spanish low-cost carrier Volotea signed a first-time PBH deal with AAR in May, while flydubai, which has plans to bring up to 75 737MAX aircraft into its fleet, extended its PBH deal with AAR. A similar deal was struck with African LCC fastjet for its A319 fleet.
AAR’s infrastructure in Europe is also a sign of intent, with 2016 also seeing the bolstering of its sales operation located near London Gatwick Airport, in addition to an existing component repair facility in Amsterdam and its UK-based Airinmar subsidiary, which it acquired in late-2011.
But in any industry, increased opportunities come with greater competition.
This is true in aviation, with rival independents are also thinking along similar lines. The likes of AJW have also moved to grow their PBH agreements with low-cost carriers, including a sizeable contract with easyJet for its fleet of Airbus-manufactured aircraft.
This is set to continue, based on talk at shows and conferences. At ap&m in London just this summer, AJW’s chief technical officer David Lewis told me continuing down the PBH route is something he’d like to see more of.
“Getting into PBH partnerships with airlines and forming these strong relationships and understanding their needs is important,” said Lewis.
Given MRO Europe is taking place in Amsterdam next month, it’ll be interesting to measure the appetite for comprehensive PBH contracts among airline customers and exactly how companies like AAR – and their rivals – are looking to obtain them.