Infusing technology, providing greater efficiencies and saving customers money are the themes of this year’s 2016 MRO of the Year Awards. This year’s honorees—Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, Aviation Technical Services, and First Aviation Services—demonstrate a deep commitment to elevating technology and processes in new ways that improve customers’ operational effectiveness.
Aviation Week will present the MRO Awards—along with the Lifetime Achievement Award to be announced at the event—at a ceremony at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition in Dallas on April 5.
Outstanding Airline Maintenance Group
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) launched the MRO Lab in 2015 to serve as a program where all the innovations developed by the company and its network converge. This includes employee suggestion programs, engineering R&D, and collaborative projects with universities and startup companies. The knowledge derived from mastering these technologies benefits the group’s clients by generating scale effects and optimizing fleet performance.
Examples of business innovations stemming from this include an analysis tool developed by AFI KLM E&M to anticipate component failures on an Airbus A380 fuel circuit, and composite repairs and repair
innovations for the GEnx engine.
The MRO Lab also benefits safety by, for example, using RFID technology to support AFI KLM E&M’s foreign object damage prevention programs.
In addition, the company set up a coinnovation center under the MRO Lab program with Ramco in Singapore. Announced in November 2015 and opened in February 2016, this center’s mission is to develop innovative, rapid-deployment solutions for aircraft maintenance.
Leading Independent MRO
Aviation Technical Services (ATS) developed a turnkey technical fleet integration service for an airline customer that accelerated capacity growth by introducing midlife aircraft into its fleet. The airline customer and ATS collaborated to produce a full-service aircraft integration program that encompasses records management, engineering, technical procurement, transition check planning and touch labor, which freed up the airline to focus on acquiring aircraft and planning its expanded network. In their partnership, ATS and the carrier cross-utilize resources to increase efficiencies and reduce total cost to the airline. The outcome is a massively accelerated, simplified fleet featuring highly standardized aircraft, with full regulatory compliance and technical uniformity.
This program allows the carrier to add capacity in a way it has not done before—using midlife rather than new aircraft—and to expand lift at a fraction of the cost and in less time than by taking new deliveries.
ATS and the airline have reduced turn times to less than 50 days from more than four months over the course of this program, which adds more than two months of incremental revenue service per delivery. Since the project’s inception, the carrier has released 40 aircraft into revenue service and expects to add 30 more over the next year. This translates into 140 aircraft-months of incremental revenue service, relative to a one-off aircraft conversion strategy focused on lowest-cost or slot availability.
Military Center of Excellence
Aviation Week reported in 2015 that military sole-source aftermarket contracts constitute about half of the $3 trillion the Pentagon expects to spend during the next decade on maintenance and operations alone. One company, First Aviation Services, has worked hard to increase competition for these contracts. It has brought to the government’s attention its rights to technical data required to maintain and repair aircraft that previously had not been exercised in a majority of Defense Department aviation programs. In addition, First Aviation obtained a legal opinion from the FAA confirming that public-use aircraft with FAA certification retain all rights to Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, which provides potential relief from sole-sourcing for thousands of government-owned FAA-certified aircraft. Awareness of these efforts contributed to Congress’s recent passage of legislation requiring the Defense Department to study its rights to intellectual property in the context of facilitating competition for MRO contracts. Ultimately, improved competition and reduced sole-sourcing could save the Pentagon billions over the next decade.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Find out who the winner is at MRO Americas.
This article appears in the MRO Edition dated March 28-April 10, 2016.