Friday’s Fast 5: Santos Dumont Looks To Evolve Its Services
Enda Clarke, Santos Dumont’s chief executive of technical, talks about the Dublin-based aviation services company’s technical activities with airlines and lessors.
Earlier this year you were appointed as Santos Dumont’s chief executive of technical. What are the key focus points of the role?
We provide a lot of aviation services for leasing companies, investors and airlines, so Santos Dumont took a step back and looked at what they had to offer. Our services have very much grown in scope over the past number of years and we defined some of them as commercial services and others as technical ones. When we thought about them, these services were different in terms of how they are marketed and sold and how they are provided. From my technical perspective, I’ll be focused on growing and developing services to the industry, with a much more strategy-focused approach rather than a purely operational one. Our technical services are highly thought of in the industry and this is a strong complement to our commercial services.
Given Santos Dumont’s many interests, where do you pinpoint opportunities from a technical perspective?
In the aircraft leasing market we have a very strong core competency in aircraft leasing, which has continually grown in the past few years. We’re looking at developing various products for the market which allow them to focus on their core competencies and help them become more efficient whatever they may be. For aircraft leasing companies, their core competencies are sourcing and executing transactions, while airlines focus on operating aircraft. Aircraft redelivery management services, which we were founded on in 2004, also continues to be a strong service provision.
Have lessor demands for technical services changed in recent times?
Some lessors, especially growing ones, will typically be looking for the right resources to set up a base. This is difficult not just in lessor hubs in places like Dublin but the leasing industry in general. It’s common that a technical person in the industry may be excellent on that side but might not have a commercial mindset, and vice versa. Seeing that it is difficult for lessors, we’ve grown this service and made it more available to them. In the past few years, some lessors have tended to use us as a technical asset management platform, while others have used us as an entire lease management platform and even purely for our marketing expertise. So there’s a level of flexibility which is important.
Which regions are catching your attention?
Latin America and Asia are very interesting regions for us. In Latin America, we’ve recently set up an office in Bogota, Columbia, from where we will aim to develop and grow the company. We’ve seen a lot of growth between Columbia and Brazil, especially with airlines leasing aircraft there. While culture is important anywhere in the world, we’ve found face to face relationships are especially important in Latin America. In Asia, there’s huge requirements for aircraft with several A320neos going to Chinese carriers. Technical training is also in demand across Asia-Pacific. We see a lack of this, with many aviation firms preferring to keep information to themselves. We prefer to share the knowledge as a smarter industry is good for everyone.
Santos Dumont established also has an active engine management arm covering most engine types. How has this progressed in recent years?
It’s been growing in areas specific areas. One of these is working on the engine records side of things with buyers, sellers and lessors of engines to ensure that what they are purchasing for part out or lease are in the requisite conditions. Requirements for engine paper work sometimes go down to ridiculous levels of accuracy, but that’s what’s required. This has transgressed the entire industry, so to meet this we’ve grown our team with four people now working with us on engine records management. Engine shop visit management have also increased.