Meggitt has looked to increase its aftermarket capabilities in the civil segment, which accounts for more than 30% of its annual revenues. What have been some of these capability additions?
It started in Singapore where we set up a center of excellence in 2013. There, we have pretty much all our MRO capabilities and spares distribution under one roof support Asia-Pacific. The facility covers components such as heat exchangers, valves, fire extinguishers, wheel and brakes, electronics and sensors being repaired under in one location. We are doing the same in North America and Europe. At our Miami facility, we are creating the same thing in our center of excellence. It has multiple MRO capabilities with spares distribution across the region. In Europe, we have the added benefit that Meggit is moving its international headquarters to the location at Ansty Park near Coventry, where we’ll also have a center of excellence offering MRO services.
It's been one year since Meggitt launched the SMART Support program. How has this taken off over the past 12 months?
We've won quite a few SMART Support contracts so far since launching it at last year's Farnborough Airshow. These include a mix of airlines and MROs, such as Emirates, Pratt & Whitney, Delta and HAECO. Because it's covering the Meggitt portfolio of products, the program can be applied to MRO integrators as well as an engine MRO shop. However, this is all dependent on exactly where the products are used.
Meggitt operates an aftermarket network comprised of 27 fully-owned facilities along with several MRO partners. Do you foresee more partnerships to grow your aftermarket output?
In terms of growth and following where it is, particularly in regions such as Asia-Pacific, the dynamics of the macro market dictate that the major aircraft manufacturers and integrators of the work becoming more dominant in the aftermarket. There will be a lot more activity supporting them and working with OEMs as the market increasingly about larger packages of work. As it stands, we deal with most OEMs to varying degrees and our SMART Support services package enabled us to develop deeper relationships with customers by combining all Meggitt capabilities together making us a one-stop shop for our products.
The concept of a one-stop shop is interesting. Many OEMs desire to become one-stop shops for their products in the aftermarket, including for third-parties. Do you think Meggitt will go down this path?
We acquired Elite Aerospace, a third-party MRO facility in the U.S. two years ago. I don’t think this acquisition signals the start of us servicing third-party MRO products. What did happen was Elite had a good portfolio of Meggitt products that they supported while possessing some complimentary third-party services that fitted with us quite well. We are very much a one-stop shop in the Meggitt context allowing airframe OEMs and integrators to come to one place.
Given the increased levels of data used in aviation today, particularly in newer airframe variants, how is Meggitt factoring this into its aftermarket operation?
There are specific products able to take advantage of digital activities such as a wireless tyre pressure monitoring system. This is supported through condition-based monitoring, which enables us to check tyre pressures wirelessly. Our sweet spots are providing maintenance services as well as enabling the availability of spares. When providing MRO, we amass strong data sets as we are receiving information such as how often a unit is coming off an aircraft. Then, we can track why that product has been removed from the aircraft and are then able to spot trends in maintenance practices and identify what we need to do to address issues or make products stay longer on aircraft. The MRO side of it brings a wealth of information, but not necessarily when an aircraft is in the air but more when an individual product is returned to us for service work. Data also helps us forecast the availability of spares, and we’ve developed an internal software to help us with this.