“Because of our international partners,” responds Gérald Hotte, customer service director at Avianor, when asked why his MRO has the confidence in the aftermarket to expand facilities and grow its staff. “We are getting an increasing amount of work from international operators.”
One crucial partner of the Montreal-based MRO has been the Lufthansa Group. Avianor does heavy checks for Lufthansa Airlines and recently received other help from Lufthansa Technik. LHT will give Avianor access to its data in planning, engineering, materials and logistics, which should help it both make more attractive offers to customers and execute maintenance tasks more efficiently for shorter turnaround times.
And Avianor is making new commitments based on its confidence in sales prospects. In early April, it decided to move from three dispersed and rented facilities at Montreal-Mirabel Airport to one by purchasing more than 100,000 square feet of consolidated shops and office space. It is now renovating the new facilities and will take up occupancy shortly.
CEO Earl Diamond says there is more ahead. Demand is strong enough that he expects Avianor will acquire a second hangar near its new space.
Staff is expected to grow along with facilities. Although Hotte says recruiting new mechanics is “challenging,” in Montreal, as it is said to be in much of North America, he expects Avianor will increase its employees to 375- 380 by the end of 2018 from from 350 today.
The MRO’s offers are flexible enough to meet many demands. It performs heavy checks on narrowbodies and widebodies of both Boeing and Airbus, manufactures interior components, refurbishes cabins with new seats and inflight entertainment systems, and supports mechanical and electrical components. With its own design and engineering staff, Hotte says Avianor also will begin manufacturing 3D plastic parts for aircraft interiors.
Another sideline business is tearing down aircraft for parts and selling these parts. Avianor was recently chosen by a regular customer to disassemble nine Airbus A310s. Dismantling already has begun and will continue as the widebodies are retired through 2019.