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AAR, BASF Cooperation Aims to Improve Cabin Air Quality

The U.S. aftermarket specialist has teamed up with chemical giant BASF to distribute and service ozone and volatile organic compounds converters.

ATLANTA—With passenger demand for improved cabin experiences becoming more central to airline strategies, a new partnership between MRO provider AAR and chemical giant BASF will look to grow the presence of specialist converters aimed at improving the cabin air quality of aircraft across the global fleet.

BASF, the world’s largest chemical specialist, announced last week that it had selected the independent MRO provider as a distributor of its Deoxo aircraft cabin ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOC) converters, along with the Rockford, Illinois-based AAR providing repair services for the converters. The length of the contract hasn't been disclosed but has been described by both parties as a "long-term" agreement.

The converters aim to combat o-zone levels which build up in the cabin when an aircraft is at high altitude, typically entering through the aircraft's air conditioning ducts. BASF says the technology improves air quality by removing o-zone levels, as well as reducing certain hydrocarbon compounds responsible for unpleasant odors such as fuel smells, which stem from factors such as lubricant leaks and on-ground maintenance activities.

Teaming up with an OEM is not a new occurrence for AAR, with its aerospace manufacturing partners including the likes of GE Aviation, Eaton Aerospace and Collins Aerospace. But the partnership with BASF, which has its main headquarters in Germany, will extend the reach of the Deoxo product to aviation customers.

Ying Wu, BASF general manager of clean air business, says the partnership with AAR will grow the company’s presence in the aviation segment – an area of business the company isn’t normally associated with, despite the fact it makes materials used in the manufacture of aircraft along with some MRO services. Overall, it has been making the converter products for more than 30 years.

“BASF is very chemical and materials focused, and in this partnership, we can focus on what we do best – which is technology and product developing while our partner AAR can help leverage their global footprint with aviation customers,” Wu told Aviation Week at MRO Americas in Atlanta on April 10. She says the company identified AAR as a partner due to the changing needs of customers in the aviation segment. "The overall level of customer demand is increasing and we felt we needed to understand their needs better rather than just staying in the background which we had before," she says.

Wu estimates BASF holds a market share of more than 50% of o-zone converters flying around the world, but says its market share related to the MRO market isn't as high.

Eric Young, AAR’s SVP of OEM solutions, says the agreements covers products on “most Boeing and Airbus aircraft platforms”, including regional aircraft and corporate jets. 

He says that typically, the converters would be retrofitted to existing aircraft fleets. In the repair cycle, it is estimated that the converters would be retested and re-certified with an estimated turnaround time of around 14 days.

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