The financial challenges faced by the Gulf Region's major airlines is nudging them to look harder at cost-saving initiatives common at most other carriers, including trimming parts costs by using alternative sources.
Among the region's three dominant carriers—Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways—at least two of them are looking at ramping up their use of PMA parts, two executives with knowledge of the airlines' supply-chain strategies tell Aviation Week's MRO Network. Among the specific requests: the option to conduct transactions in their local currencies, instead of the U.S. dollar.
"If you want to do business with one of the OEMs, you're going to have to do things their way," one of the executives says. "Being more flexible than OEMs" on aspects such as financial terms "presents a perfect opportunity" for PMA providers.
PMA usage is not new to the Gulf region, but its carriers have been slow to adopt the strategy. Emirates began to evaluate them several years ago for common and lowest-risk applications, such as in the cabin.
In recent months, however, interest in more widespread usage from the region's carriers has increased significantly as they revamp strategies to cope with fresh and mounting challenges. A drop in lucrative premium traffic, linked closely to a decline in oil prices, has been the primary culprit, forcing the carriers to reshuffle fleet plans and consider other cost-savings moves.
With carriers like Emirates opening up to PMA, there are few airlines left that are outright opponents. The marketplace's primary PMA roadblock continues to be leasing companies, although there are signs of shifts here, too. American Airlines has begun mandating lease language that permits PMA usage, and retains a consultancy, Sheffield Aerospace, to help it source and evaluate PMA opportunities.