Avocet Aviation Services, the Orlando-based MRO operating close to the city’s Sanford Airport, has signed what it describes as the industry’s first Airbus A321 passenger-to-freighter (PTF) modifications work involving the development of a cargo door prototype.
Announced in early April following an agreement being reached in late 2017, Avocet will partner with 321 Precision Conversions on the project for the Airbus A321 aircraft.
The prototype modifications on the aircraft in Orlando came after meeting aircraft modifications specialist Precision’s specific criteria during the tendering process.
The formation of the partnership was due to both companies being a good fit for one another, says Edward Gray, Avocet’s general manager and chief of operations. “We were able to bid for this work and ideally, we also fit Precision’s desire to work with a medium-size company that they could take under wing and form a partnership.”
Gray says factoring in the PTF announcement, the company has had a strong start to 2018 which has also seen it open a second repair facility in Lakeland, Florida in February around 90 miles west of its Orlando base.
Services at the 26,000 sq. ft Lakeland Linder Regional Airport site include heavy and line maintenance, engine services and paint and aircraft refinishing. “Capabilities and approvals at Lakeland mirror the ones we hold in Sanford from the FAA and EASA,” Gray says.
At its Sanford headquarters, Avocet operates three locations consisting of a Part-145 repair station, a component business and a teardown operation for end of life aircraft.
Its teardown operation isn’t exclusive to older aircraft types. Gray says it isn’t uncommon for Avocet to tear down relatively young aircraft, citing a recent project taking apart an A321 that was less than 10 years old.
“This is because parts are so valuable,” he says. “The engine is immediately sold which made the operator most of their money back, while the on-board avionics are advanced and the landing gear had plenty of time left on it which also meant it was immediately sold.”