The 2015 winners of Aviation Week’s MRO of the Year awards exemplify excellence in establishing high-tech services for next-generation aircraft, integrating cabin life-cycle services, delivering reliable engine transportation and logistics, and crafting engineering solutions to improve efficiencies and save costs. Our 2015 honorees—Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, Haeco, Kuehne+Nagel and Nordam—provide examples of how creative aftermarket solutions deepen service value for customers. Aviation Week will present awards to the four winners, along with the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ernesto Ruiz, at a ceremony at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition in Miami on April 14.
Outstanding Airline Maintenance Group
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance took several major steps in 2014 to set up comprehensive support for the latest generation of aircraft and engines—including establishing maintenance programs for the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. Some of the specifics include establishing an agreement with General Electric to become the first non-OEM shop to perform quick-turn shop visits for the GEnx engine, completing the first Engine Alliance GP7200 full-shop engine visit, and developing 787 engine nacelle and APU repair capability. By establishing next-generation capabilities such as these, AFI KLM E&M brings to the market adaptive solutions—including aircraft-on-ground (AOG) services, parts pooling, integrated supply chain, engine repairs and asset management solutions. Its order book grew 20% in 2014.
Leading Independent MRO
As part of its long-term growth strategy and to compete its service spectrum in the cabin business, Haeco acquired Timco Aviation Services in February 2014. Not only did this expand Haeco’s operations into North America, but the companies used the opportunity to create a sub-brand, Haeco Cabin Solutions, which saves airlines money by offering full-service cabin integration and reconfiguration services for narrowbody and widebody aircraft. This is possible because Haeco Cabin Solutions covers solutions for the entire cabin life cycle—including design engineering, seat and cabin component manufacturing, cabin completion and reconfiguration, ODA certification, and line and heavy maintenance. The one-stop shop capability helps expedite turnaround times and promotes effective resource planning.
Innovative Supplier/OEM Service Provider
Kuehne+Nagel created an innovative end-to-end integrated supply chain solution for transporting engines: KN EngineChain. The company realized that regulations and certifications did not address the transport of aero engines—an activity that can lead to damage and delays of these assets typically valued at $1 million-30 million. Kuehne+Nagel created a training program for their employees and carriers to handle engines—as well as a certification program to assess and evaluate carriers handling engines. Then the company integrated this into its global network operations, which include a Web portal, AOG desks, and sites, so it is part of Keuhne+Nagel’s standard operating procedures. A customer said this service has provided greater control over transport movements, time savings, logistics savings, and reduction of in-progress inventory and associated carrying costs.
Military Center of Excellence
Nordam is reducing AOG time for U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets by providing interchangeable, remanufactured engine bay doors that feature new skins and blanked-out edges. Each aircraft features six engine bay doors to give mechanics access to the General Electric F404 engines, but each door has a unique fastener pattern due to manufacturing and maintenance variations. This dictated that each door had to be removed, overhauled and returned to the same aircraft. Nordam tackled this inefficiency by submitting an engineering change proposal to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to perform all life-extension repairs on the Hornets and create a universal configuration so the doors fit on any of the aircraft. This repair solution means any Navy maintenance unit can order the universal door from the Navy supply system, have it match-drilled to the recipient Hornet and installed at the aircraft’s location. The damaged engine bay door then can be returned to Nordam for repair if stock levels dictate. This optimizes aircraft downtime, makes the maintenance process more efficient and improves fleet supply chain management efficiencies.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ernesto Ruiz
Ernesto Ruiz is chairman of Aeroman, a leading narrowbody MRO provider and the only founding member of the Airbus MRO Network in Latin America. With more than 27 years of experience in senior leadership positions with TACA Airlines and Aeroman, Ruiz has played a fundamental role in the turnaround of Grupo TACA as well as in Aeroman’s incursion into the North American market. Ruiz began his career with TACA as general manager for Aeroman, the company’s MRO division at the time. He became TACA’s director of maintenance and engineering, then was promoted to vice president-maintenance and engineering for Grupo TACA, doing double-duty as Aeroman’s GM. Some of his key assignments were developing, selling and managing the heavy maintenance services for third-party customers, and coordinating, at the same time, all maintenance and engineering support to Grupo TACA’s fleet.