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Inside MRO News Briefs And Contracts, January 2017

Lufthansa launches short-haul broadband service; Amazon’s role in Pemco purchase; Airbus supports China Airlines maintenance buildup.

Highlights

Lufthansa Launches Short-Haul Broadband Service

Lufthansa Group plans to equip all 227 narrowbody aircraft in the fleets of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings with broadband internet access within the next 15 months. The company launched a trial phase using five Airbus A320-family aircraft each at Austrian and Lufthansa. The trial will take several weeks, leading to a full commercial launch within the first quarter of 2017. All 31 narrowbody aircraft at Austrian will be retrofitted at the end of March, and 69 Eurowings aircraft will be upgraded by the summer. Lufthansa, having the largest fleet, will take until early-to-mid-2018 to complete the task.

Lufthansa is using Inmarsat’s Ka-band Global Express network, among others. Lufthansa Systems is responsible for the onboard hardware; installation work is performed by Lufthansa Technik. The company has set up a dedicated retrofit line for Austrian, that it will also use for Lufthansa aircraft in the summer. The work takes four days per aircraft.

What Was Amazon’s Role in Pemco Purchase?

Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (AMES) has become a significant player in aircraft cargo conversions via the purchase of Pemco World Air Services. Tampa, Florida-based Pemco offers passenger-to-freighter conversions of Boeing 737 Classic aircraft and Boeing 767 heavy maintenance. AMES, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group, based in Wilmington, Ohio, is a cargo lift provider that in 2016 signed a five-year deal to wet lease 20 767 freighters to Amazon. AMES offers heavy and line maintenance, parts provision, component repair and engineering services such as winglet retrofits.

“Based on Pemco’s existing domestic and international scale, this acquisition will expand access to maintenance service for customers of ATSG’s expanding fleet of Boeing 767 cargo aircraft,” says ATSG President and CEO Joe Hete. While there is a nod to Amazon in that statement, it is unclear how much influence the e-commerce giant had on the deal. Also undoubtedly attractive were Pemco’s ties to modification specialist Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co.  in China, where ATSG is pursuing a joint venture.

Airbus Supporting China Airlines Maintenance Buildup

Airbus agreed to upgrade the capabilities of China Airlines in maintenance, engineering and technical training, supporting a specialist offshoot of the Taiwanese carrier that will commence operations this year. China Airlines’ work on the Airbus A320, A330, A340 and A350 is covered by the agreement, which sets out the cooperation plans of the two companies, the airline says.

The carrier set up an MRO company called Tameco in 2015; a hangar able to accept two widebody and three narrowbody aircraft is scheduled to begin operating in 2017. The business will have a strong focus on working for clients other than its owner.

Under the agreement, Airbus will also assist China Airlines in developing a business focused on retrofits and modifications for cabins and airframes. The two companies will look at the feasibility of approving a maintenance training center.

China Airlines rival EVA Airways has a well-established maintenance business called Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp., that focuses on outside customers.

Contracts

TURKISH TECHNIC received a contract from Yakutia Airlines to provide GTCP131-9B APU maintenance.

TS&S AEROSPACE (Mubadala) in Abu Dhabi was selected by SriLankan Airlines to provide Trent 700 maintenance.

SIA ENGINEERING renewed a Boeing 747-400F services agreement with Singapore Airlines Cargo for up to eight more years.

ROLLS-ROYCE secured its first SelectCare services contract from Delta Air Lines for the Trent 800 engines that power the airline’s Boeing 777s.

MONARCH AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING was selected by Cobalt to provide Airbus A320 line maintenance at Birmingham/Manchester, England.

LUFTHANSA TECHNIK plans by year-end to close aircraft overhaul operations at Hamburg after it could not reach a new labor agreement with trade union VER.DI. Future overhaul work will be performed at Budapest, Hungary; Sofia, Bulgaria; Shannon, Ireland; Malta; Puerto Rico; and Manila, Philippines.

EVERGREEN AVIATION TECHNOLOGIES in Taiwan was selected by Boeing to perform 767-300 passenger-to-freighter conversions; the first conversion is expected to be delivered in 2018. Boeing has 27 orders for 767-300PCFs.

MONARCH AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING was selected by Cygnus Air in Spain to provide Boeing 757-200PCF heavy maintenance.

AERO NORWAY was approved by the civil aviation Administration of china to maintain CFM56-3/5B/7B engines for Chinese-registered aircraft.

TABY AIR MAINTENANCE in Sweden won a Loganair contract to convert two Saab 340B (187/197) to cargo aircraft in the first quarter of this year. 

JAZZ TECHNICAL SERVICES (JTS) secured a two-year CommutAir contract to perform Bombardier Dash 8 heavy maintenance at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

AFI KLM E&M won a contract from AirAsia to provide component support for up to 304 Airbus A320neos.

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