Avianca Aeronautical Center Provides New Latin American MRO Capacity

After opening its new MRO shop in Medellin last week, Avianca is well-positioned to provide a hub for airlines looking to carry out third party work in Latin America. Chris Kjelgaard looks at the workshop's capabilities.

The commissioning late last month of the new MRO Avianca Aeronautical Center at José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro, near Medellin, offers an important new option for third-party MRO for airlines operating to and from destinations in Latin America.

Built at a cost of more than $50m at Colombia’s second-largest airport, which serves the department of Antioquia in western Colombia, the Avianca Aeronautical Center occupies a total area of 44,300 square meters (476,840 square feet).

Within the Avianca Aeronautical Center’s seven-shop complex is an 8,400-square-meter hangar which is 138 meters wide, 55 meters deep and has a free height of 19 meters. The hangar provides enough floor area to perform base MRO on five single-aisle aircraft or two double-aisle aircraft simultaneously.

One of the center’s other six shops is an Aeronautical Material Warehouse, where Avianca procures, stores, transports and sorts the spare parts that its own and third-party customers’ aircraft require for maintenance.

A Machinery Workshop provides industrial and aeronautical welding capabilities and supports machine design and development needs, as well as performing tool manufacturing.

The center’s Seats and Thermoforming Workshop provides manufacturing of plastic parts for injection and thermoforming processes, while its Emergency Equipment and Rafts Workshop performs maintenance on the emergency equipment installed on aircraft.

In addition to a Mechanized Center which contains a tool that performs complex and highly precise mechanized processes, the Avianca Aeronautical Center has a Clean Room where work with composite materials is performed. The Clean Room is equipped with automatized electronic instruments that maintain strictly controlled environmental parameters.

Last but not least, the Avianca Aeronautical Center maintenance complex has a specialized workshop for component repair. The center’s infrastructure also includes an apron for aircraft taxiing, offices and three training classrooms which each boast a 25-student capacity.

The complex holds maintenance, repair and overhaul approvals from aviation regulatory organizations which include Colombia's Aeronautica Civil de Colombia, the FAA and EASA.

Avianca’s MRO department consists of more than 600 fully certified technicians and engineers certified to work on the Airbus A318, A319, A320, A321 and ATR 72. The department is in the process of obtaining accreditation to provide maintenance and engineering services for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330 families.

At the commissioning ceremony for the Avianca Aeronautical Center on September 28 – a ceremony attended by the President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos – Avianca’s President and CEO, Hernan Rincon, had much positive to say about the new MRO facility.

“With the commissioning of the MRO at Rionegro, Avianca consolidates its role as a development motor and positions itself as a source of innovation and progress for the national and international aviation industry,” said Rincon.

“Through its facilities, technology and the talent at the aeronautical complex, at Avianca we seek to make an effective contribution to the economic and social development of eastern Antioquia and the aviation sector in general, as we are giving specialized technical training, process quality and growth of the regional economy a new boost.”

Avianca has designed its new Aeronautocal Center with eco-efficiency in mind. It operates lean processes and the center’s working areas and equipment are designed to allow maximum productivity on the part of Avianca’s MRO staff.

The center’s facilities collect, treat and re-use rainwater and it has a collection and selection centre for non-hazardous materials (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum, etc.). The Avianca Aeronautical Center also has facilities for collection and initial processing of all hazardous chemicals, which are then sent for further processing by specialized companies.

To help ensure energy optimization, the Avianca Aeronautical Centre’s facilities are designed to take maximum advantage of natural lighting and minimise the use of air conditioning. Its utilities systems include LED lighting and some areas of the centre have lighting shut-off sensors.

According to Avianca, the MRO facility’s construction and operation complies with Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. The center’s buildings are designed to operate sustainably, in a manner which aims to preserve the environment.

Image - Avianca

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