MRO Relationships Develop Via Joint Ventures, IT Integration

MRO pacts announced at the Singapore Airshow underscore how service providers are harnessing dynamic technologies—especially Big Data and IT refinements—to attract new customers.

Aircraft and engine orders were not as bounteous at the recently completed Singapore Airshow as in the past, but aftermarket partnership agreements flourished. Given that Asia-Pacific fleet growth will dominate the overall world numbers for at least the next decade, it should come as no surprise that aftermarket service providers will seek to expand their customer base in the region.

One of the most interesting hookups was GMF AeroAsia’s two-pronged deal. On Feb. 16, the Indonesian airline MRO and SR Technics announced that they had signed a five-year agreement to work together to develop GMF AeroAsia’s MRO capabilities. “This agreement symbolizes how we will further develop our engineering capabilities and utilize the extensive MRO capabilities and networks of both companies to develop the market in the Asia-Pacific region,” said GMF AeroAsia President/CEO Richard Budihadianto.

They also signed a five-year component support agreement for Garuda Indonesia’s Boeing 737 components.

A day later, GMF AeroAsia and Air France KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in aftermarket activities, including component and GE90 and CFM56 engine support. Via the MOU, AFI KLM E&M also is considering subcontracting Boeing 747 MRO to GMF.  “A wide range of topics is under discussion,” says Ton Dortmans, KLM E&M executive vice president, who adds that this is a natural continuation of the partnership agreement signed in 2014.

And Lufthansa Technik Aero Alzey (LTAA) and Batam Aero Technik agreed to cooperate on Pratt & Whitney PW127M engine support. LTAA will assist Lion Air’s technical division in setting up an MRO facility in Batam; technical services will be provided at LTAA’s facility until it is ready.

Another announcement came from SIA Engineering Co. (Siaec) and Airbus, who agreed to set up a joint venture (JV) in Singapore to provide maintenance, cabin upgrades and modifications for A380, A350 and A330 aircraft. Siaec will hold a 65% stake and Airbus 35%.

This follows a JV established with Boeing in 2015—Boeing Asia Pacific Aviation Services—that provides MRO services for 737s, 747s, 777s and 787s. Siaec has a 49% share; Boeing, 51%.

While these examples show development from a company-to-company partnership approach, see how the Thai government is promoting MRO development (page MRO 10).

As well as forming joint ventures and establishing bases close to customers, MROs are using data and information technology to deepen relationships. Sean Broderick reports that Haeco Americas will soon have a full safety management system (SMS) in place that will enable it to feed data directly into a customer’s SMS (see page MRO 4). As Dave Latimer, vice president of regulatory compliance, says in the article: “We’re starting to see different forms of communication coming out of the air carriers. We address the issues and can feed the information right back into their SMSs.”  

What a fantastic way to make continuous improvement, foster efficiencies and improve safety. And frankly, this type of action feeds into predictive maintenance—and where Big Data could take us.

This is a period of intense transformation. Carpe Diem! 

TAGS: Asia Pacific
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