MIAMI—“There are not enough good component suppliers in Latin America,” according to Copa Airlines Vice President-Technical Operations Ahmad Zamany, who would like to see more options outside of Miami.
“Anybody can build a hangar, but the need is for component services,” he said at the IATA Maintenance Cost Conference.
Known for delivering on-time and operating margins that lead in the industry, Copa Airlines constantly evaluates its maintenance programs, reliability rates and costs, adjusting them as it makes sense. For instance, Zamany said for efficiency the airline has brought some maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work back in-house, including MRO work on sidewall panels, wheels and brakes, C check structural repairs and some component repairs. Many of its components are covered under pooling and power-by-the-hour agreements. One pooling agreement saved Copa $4 million in inventory costs.
“Look at lead times very carefully,” Zamany said, because parts on shelves can gather dust and be very expensive.
One of Copa’s challenges is “controlling the high cost of OEM materials and services,” and facing long lead-times for parts, according to Zamany. That is a reason Copa uses alternate sourcing, include owner- and operator-provided parts, license, assist and PMA parts. “But,” he cautioned, “don’t do this unless you have a strong engineering program.”
Copa has also reached out to two other airlines that operate the same fleet type at outstations, to brainstorm ways they could share or loan inventory to cut costs. He cautioned that may prove difficult, however, because “that means working with competitors.”