Life can be tough for an independent MRO in South America. Seventeen-year old Industrial Aeronautica has been a very strong player in the Latin MRO market, doing ATR 42, 72 and Beechcraft King Air heavy maintenance in Medellin, Colombia, notes Sales Director Sebastián Jiménez.
The MRO has been approved by regulators in Colombia, Ecuador, the U.S. and Guernsey. “However, the market is limited, and there are a few competitors taking a portion of the market,” Jiménez says. Moreover, most Caribbean airlines operate under EASA rules. Getting access to that market would increase the MRO’s costs, and many Caribbean airlines already have maintenance contracts with U.S., Canadian or European companies.
So in January 2019, parent Indaer sold Industrial Aeronautica to a Colombian regional airline. Indaer’s remaining engineers will now provide consulting services for airworthiness audits, pre-purchase inspections, mid-lease inspections, records and preparation for deliveries and redeliveries and other engineering services for airlines.
The MRO business, including all assets, contracts, customers, staff, parts and materials are being transferred to new airline owner. “The purchaser bought the whole company, Industrial Aeronautica, except for the consulting business,” Jiménez says. The airline gets all the tools, ground equipment, spares, consumables and two bay hangars, one 700 square meters and the other of 1,500 meters in area.
The Indaer exec will not name the new owner, saying only that it is a regional airline operating in Colombia. “They did not have a maintenance facility fully equipped to perform base maintenance, nor did they have the capabilities and now they do,” So the regional can now do its own heavy checks. And Jiménez says the airline is also interested in continuing Industrial Aeronautica’s business of providing maintenance to other airlines.