Spirit AeroSystems announced its intent to sell its share of HAECO Spirit AeroSystems in April to its JV partner HAECO. With the transaction now complete and the company rebranded to HAECO Composite Services, Aviation Week speaks with Sunny Mirchandani, the company’s director and general manager, who says the company’s business objectives will remain the same, and “we will continue to expand our portfolio of maintenance services for nacelles, flight control surfaces, radomes and other composite structures for narrowbody, widebody and regional aircraft.”
What are your biggest business drivers of revenue? Are there particular products that are in great demand now?
The biggest business drivers by revenue have been repair/overhaul of nacelles, and they will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. However, since our capability set-up of flight control surfaces and radomes, we have seen a sizeable growth in revenue from these product lines over the last two years. There are a lot of narrowbody aircraft (both Boeing and Airbus) in the Greater China/Asia-Pacific region and we are seeing higher frequency of component removals. Also, with the increasing number of widebody aircraft in the Greater China region (along with increased cargo traffic), we expect to see significant growth in revenue from repair of nacelles and flight controls for those aircraft.
HAECO Composite Services’s website says the company is an authorized repair station for Safran Nacelles. Is the company seeking any additional partnerships?
HAECO Composites’ business model is very OEM centric and we are an authorized repair station and/or preferred service provider for multiple OEM’s including Safran Nacelles. Forming strategic long-term partnerships with major OEMs will always be a part of our growth strategy.
Is most of the work you do for Chinese customers?
Our customer base is global and consists of operators, OEMs, lessors, and third-party MROs. Our business volume from China continues to grow and is driven by (a) increased work from airlines in the Greater China region and (b) repair opportunities from global airlines that fly into China and/or get their aircraft maintenance done in the Greater China region.
Given the projected growth in Chinese airlines, how will your company keep up with the demand? Is it hard to find enough manpower to do this?
Yes, the growth in this region has been unprecedented. The demand is not only fueled by the growth of Chinese airlines, but also by the increased air traffic in this region by other international airlines. Both these aspects have been key contributors to our revenue growth from China. Our existing facility was purpose built for this growth and we see no constraints in terms of facilities and equipment to keep up with the increased demand. When expansion is needed, we have access to land adjacent to our existing facility. As for manpower, we have an in-house training program and we recruit regionally. We remain focused on staff welfare and continued training to increase staff retention.
Your career has been very global. Given this, how do you think the tariff and trade wars will impact aviation?
Like many other industry peers, I believe the impact of a potential trade war on aviation still remains to be seen. There are tariffs on over 1,000 products, which could impact major OEMs’ parts in the Chinese supply chain. Although the fears of Chinese retaliation continue, our industry has not yet seen any slowdown or pullbacks. However, that does not mean that a potential trade war is a non-threat to aviation.