Having carried out 67 engine inductions in 2016 and with a projected 78 taking place this year, Aero Norway decided to implement changes to its workforce and operational schedule in order to meet growing demand.
According to Glenford Marston, general manager of the Stavanger-based CFM-authorized repair shop, these changes included the introduction of a shift system, which he says allowed Aero Norway technicians to spend more working time on engine repair and reduce turnaround times (TAT).
“Before we used to promise a TAT at around the 60-day mark, but given our growth and increasing customer demand, that doesn’t cut it anymore,” says Marston. “About 55 days maximum is a more reasonable TAT target and in some cases if the customer accepts rotable parts, this can be reduced further to 50 days.”
Marston, who joined Aero Norway in 2014 one year after the Norway Engine Centre was acquired by investors from Pratt & Whitney, says demand has partly been driven by a growing number of leasing customers primarily for the CFM56-3B engine variant, while demand for -5B and -7B work is increasing.
“Lessors are very demanding in terms of TAT, with cost mostly driven by materials rather than labor,” he says. “We haven’t missed a TAT target in the past 18 months – however, this was at 60 days and that has now changed.”
Following the Norway Engine Centre’s closure in April 2012, many of its workforce had taken their talents to the oil and gas sector, a large contributor to Stavanger’s economy.
But since reopening the facility in 2013, Marston says Aero Norway had little trouble in attracting staff back from the oil and gas sector to technical roles at the facility such was their vigour for the industry. It was this passion for the business from staff which simplified changing to a shift pattern, he added.
Aero Norway will now draw on its experienced team in the coming months to train 10 new apprentices on three-year programs, with a further six set to be recruited by towards the end of summer 2017. These new arrivals will add to its non-apprentice workforce of 128 people.
“With government support, we’re in a good position to pick people from all of the local aeronautical schools for apprenticeships,” he says.
New capabilities could also be on Aero Norway’s radar in the future. “We’ve got the opportunity to do some more internal repairs, as the market is crying out for this service,” says Marston.
The Aero Norway GM added that the independent repair specialist is specifically looking at the possibility of bringing in some component repair services to the facility.