Fast 5: Air France-KLM Sees Next-Gen Aircraft Opportunities in North America

Anne Brachet, executive vice president at Air France-KLM Engineering & Maintenance, discusses its MRO growth strategy in North America and the surrounding regions.

Global expansion has been ongoing for some time. Specifically, how do you see the company’s MRO footprint in North America expanding?

We see opportunities in the components market, and particularly in some of the new generation aircraft types. Our market share for the Boeing 787 has grown and we are continuing to develop our share of the Airbus A350 segment. While new platforms for these widebody aircraft along with narrowbody types such as the A320neo and the 737MAX will be a driver. We will also give attention to older aircraft models such as the classic variants of the A320 and 737. Our Barfield subsidiary is a tool for this and we see opportunities for the business to further grow its component capabilities.

Barfield is of course, based in Miami and has won notable component service contracts with North America. Looking further afield, how has the business actively targeted potential customers in other parts of the Americas?

Barfield was acquired with this aim. It was also a way to address the supply chain throughout the region and provide us with a stable presence in a large market.

Do you foresee more regional partnerships?

We are always looking for partners. Being airline affiliated is in our DNA and we are always looking to work with other carriers in the U.S. with an intent to develop on the MRO side. I believe an increasing amount of MRO work will need to be done in the U.S. and this will naturally present opportunities for Barfield to expand its local footprint.

Do you forsee any challenges around growth expansion in the Americas?

There are many challenges. Long-term, question marks remain around aftermarket consolidation. There are a lot of small shops around the U.S., and with the market for new platforms developing, these questions remain unanswered. OEM aftermarket growth is another obvious challenge. However, this is also an opportunity – we have built strong partnerships with the likes of Boeing. With the volume of work, there is room for everyone in the aftermarket.  

In view of the OEMs becoming increasingly service-centric, does being an airline-affiliated maintenance provider work in your favour?

Being an airline MRO allows us to offer a lot. Being airline and operator minded certainly appeals to customers. In North America, we signed a major GE90 contract with Air Canada a few years ago, and this is a good example of a carrier liking our operating model.

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