Operating an all-Airbus fleet set to surpass 300 aircraft, EasyJet is one of Europe’s largest airlines and has one of the more unique operating models on the continent.
Despite in-sourcing some areas of its maintenance, EasyJet still outsourcing an estimated 90% of its maintenance needs and the size of its fleet is a major factor when looking for a maintenance provider to partner with.
“The sheer size of our fleet, which will soon surpass 300 aircraft, is in itself a significant demand for a supplier, so it is essential that they have the right capacity and capabilities in place,” says Gary Smith, head of engineering at Luton-headquartered EasyJet.
Some of its notable partnerships include a long-standing cooperation with Switzerland’s SR Technics, a component management agreement signed with AJW Group in 2015 and the opening of a new hangar at Gatwick with Lufthansa Technik in 2016 covering light base maintenance and aircraft on ground hangar support.
“Operating a smaller or very mixed fleet is a different type of scenario to operating the volume of aircraft we do,” Smith says. “Components alone will account for around 40,000 transactions per year and that’s excluding consumables.”
With the Airbus A321neo expected to arrive in EasyJet’s fleet this summer, hot on the heels of the 2017 debut of the A320neo, EasyJet has also made moves to ramp up the operational side of its maintenance division and has consistently explored new technologies.
Having embarked on high profile projects around drones, electric aircraft and initiatives including 3D screening and electric aircraft taxiing, data analytics is also at the forefront of the U.K. carrier’s plans. In March this year, it announced it had signed up to Airbus’ Skywise platform, a move Smith says it hopes will enable it to turn the unscheduled into scheduled and plan its operations more carefully, as well as other, “airline-wide” benefits
“Being able to use technology to predict when an aircraft is about to go wrong in some way is a compelling argument in itself,” he says.
Read an in-depth interview with EasyJet head of engineering Gary Smith in the upcoming issue of Inside MRO.