Many start-up low-fare airlines choose to outsource heavy maintenance. But with over 430 Boeing 737s in its fleet, Ryanair has the scale to do a lot of airframe work very efficiently itself. Director of engineering Vinny Conway says his airline will continue to emphasize the in-house approach.
The airline does outsource engine overhauls. But its maintenance strategy is to carry out all airframe maintenance in its own facilities. “All of our base and line maintenance are done in-house,” Conway notes. .
The Ryanair exec says safety of aircraft is Ryanair’s number-one priority. “Our maintenance strategy ensures we have control over maintenance procedures and processes and ensures that all work done conforms to the industry-leading standards we require.”
The in-house approach requires a staff of about 1,200 people in Ryanair’s maintenance and engineering department now. Conway says he has no plans to change his maintenance strategy, but both staff and facilities will continue to grow as the airline grows.
That should mean plenty on new mechanic jobs, new hangars and MRO equipment. The carrier has 240 737s on order and plans to increase its passenger traffic by nearly 50% by 2024.
As for challenges in recruiting maintenance staff, the MRO chief says only, “we face the same challenges as all maintenance organizations, but we have an extensive in-house training program, which helps us address these challenges.”