Answered by Norbert Marx, the maintenance, repair and overhaul organization’s CEO and general manager
1. How is Gameco’s new landing-gear overhaul shop that just opened in April operating? Did any adjustments need to be made after opening?
Things are going pretty much as planned. With our new shop, we will be able to control the whole landing-gear overhaul process in house, including machining, nondestructive testing and surface treatment.
After we received the necessary FAA and Civil Aviation Administration of China approvals, we moved the existing capabilities from our old location to the new shop, still subcontracting out some of the special processes. We are setting up these processes now step by step, following a clear implementation schedule.
2. How many exchange landing-gear shipsets does Gameco have for each type it overhauls?
Gameco and China Southern (which owns 50% of Gameco) own a substantial number of landing gears. Combined, we have three sets for [the] Boeing 737 series and six sets for [the] Airbus A320 family in different configurations. We also recently invested into an A330 shipset.
3. How many landing-gear overhauls do you anticipate performing this year?
For this year, which is a transition year for us, we are planning to overhaul 116 legs, or roughly 40 shipsets. Once we have all processes under our own control, especially machining and electroplating, we will reduce turnaround time, and increase this number significantly.
4. Earlier this year, Gameco said it has increased productivity by 75% over the past seven years. What were the big transformational changes?
A major change came from our new, Phase 2 facility, with more than 700,000 sq. ft. of floor space in hangar, workshops and offices. After we took it into operation at the end of 2013, our working conditions, aircraft access, workflow, etc., improved a lot. At the same time, we also streamlined our organization in heavy maintenance and introduced mobile devices for mechanics. A big portion also is coming from our continuous improvement program, which we launched in 2009.
5. What percentage of Gameco’s work is done for China Southern aircraft?
This year the percentage is about 63% for China Southern and 37% for other customers in heavy maintenance. This ratio came down from 80/20 several years ago.