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AAR Reaps Benefits From Legacy-Platform Capabilities

As it ramps up for new-generation aircraft work, the U.S. aftermarket specialist sees plenty of opportunities in legacy aircraft.

The continued demand for lift using legacy aircraft and AAR’s deeply integrated portfolio of capabilities are creating opportunities for the supplier and aftermarket specialist, even as it prepares to support new-generation aircraft that will soon need work.

“One of the things that we are finding to be mutually beneficial for both our customer base and our business is maintaining capability on 737NGs, 757s, and 767s,” senior VP, repair and engineering services Brian Sartain told Show News. “It's to the point where some European carriers are coming to us for 757 airframe maintenance because you just can't get [it] done in Europe anymore.”

Getting 767s ferried to the U.S. is not uncommon, but sending a narrobody across the Atlantic for airframe work—even a large model such as a 757—is rare. But AAR has seen European liveries in multiple airframe shops as local providers wind down the work to free up space for newer models.

Large-scale MRO providers must balance an emphasis on new products with demand to support sunsetting platforms. The former can guarantee work for years, while the latter can help fill hangars immediately. AAR is reaping benefits from both worlds.

Its 737NG and Airbus A320 experience sets it up well to support customers with the MAX and Neo models, for instance. Its internal capabilities, notably component repair and manufacturing experience, have it ideally positioned to service even the oldest fleets.

"A lot of these legacy parts providers--if you need a stringer or you need a composite piece for a flight-control surface, they can be really hard to get,” Sartain said. "But we can make them."

The company is pushing deeper into data analytics, too. Armed with data from hundreds of heavy checks on platforms such as the 737 and A320, it analyzes the information, identifies areas that could be improved, and pitches the customer. 

“It’s all about lowering their total cost by harvesting the data from their aircraft when we touch them, taking a look at where largest spend is, and offering options that leverage our capabilities,” Sartain said. "We’re trying to rotate into a model where we can do everything for our marquee customers.”

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