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Meet the Boss: Lee McConnellogue, Flybe Aviation Services

Lee McConnellogue, director of aviation services at Flybe Aviation Services, discusses the MRO side of the carrier's operation and how the firm maintains its fleet.

Why did Flybe Aviation Services move into the MRO service?

The E-Jet was a natural progression for Flybe Aviation Services (FAS). FAS has a strong background in regional jet and turbo prop aircraft and the E-Jet series sits well in this regional market. The later E series aircraft such as the E175 and E195 also sat well with the legacy E145 aircraft already in the FAS portfolio. Separate to these factors Flybe Airlines selected the E-Jet in late 2010 and this saw a requirement for FAS from within the Flybe Group.

Who are your E-Jet customers?

FAS boasts an impressive range of third party customers. Our customer base is a truly global one with those from as far afield as Africa, North America and the Middle East and, closer to home, in Europe and the UK. Key customers include Kenya Airlines, Air Italia, Air Costa, Arkia, Borajet, Finnair, BA City Flyer and Aurigny, and of course we look after our own sister airline’s E- Jet fleet, all from our impressive base maintenance facilities at Exeter International Airport.

What maintenance services does Flybe mainly provide on the current generation of E-Jets?

We are an authorised service centre for Embraer and carry out all base maintenance checks on the current generation of E-Jet aircraft. In addition we are also able to offer extensive workshop capability, technical design services, CAMO support and AOG all under our EASA Part 145 approval as well as a number of theoretical and practical type training courses under our part 147 approval. FAS is perfectly placed to support all E-Jet requirements.

Are there any challenges Flybe face with E-Jets?

The challenges faced on the E-series are comparable with that of its contemporaries. The main target at FAS is to highlight the challenges early, target them and then move them down the priority list. Our lineage on the type and also the route profile and age of the fleet means that FAS has been at the vanguard of E-Jet  maintenance through all phases of the aircraft’s life cycle and we continue to be market leaders in delivering high quality cost effective solutions.

What do you think the biggest impact facing MRO’s will be with the introduction of the E2 series?

As with any new type or series there will be logistical milestones to meet from tooling, spares holding, technical support and also the training ramp up in line with demand. These milestones each have a separate challenge. In terms of tooling and spares holding there will need to be an in-depth technical review of the Aircraft to ensure that the specific to type items are identified and available at the right time in the aircrafts lifecycle. This represents a financial commitment to the type. The technical support and training support present a ‘people’ challenge.

How can MROs address these challenges?

Businesses will need to release existing staff and recruit new staff to meet the demands of these two areas whilst still maintain the service levels expected on existing types. This being said I am sure there will be volunteers aplenty across all aspects of the MRO community wanting to be involved in the E2. MRO’s will also need to demonstrate a flexibility in support for the aircraft when it enters in to service. As with all new types the formative months of the aircraft’s in service life will see the need for increased support in the operational environment. This is where MRO’s need to have an intimate knowledge of airline operations and complexities.

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