The collapse of Monarch Airlines and its travel division created a bad situation that resulted in many job losses. Do you foresee a brighter future for the now standalone engineering and maintenance business?
As a standalone MRO, we are now masters of our destiny able to make our own decisions. We are already doing just that solely as an engineering business and not as a division of the airline group. Over time, this will have its benefits. The good news for us is that our shareholders are right behind us and are happy with our outlook for the long-term. Monarch Airlines accounted for about 50% of our workload so naturally there’s a void to be filled. Where we will be strong is in our ability to offer high demand stock that were previously reserved for Monarch Airlines. There’s a real opportunity to go out into the market and sell these services to third parties.
How has Monarch Aircraft Engineering changed in light of the airline group entering administration on Oct. 2?
The business has changed slightly. There are now winter maintenance slots available due to the Monarch Airlines issue. Already, there’s been a lot of interest in taking those slots so things are looking positive, including interest from airlines we haven’t worked with previously. Hopefully the initial interest will become something more substantial very soon. Looking forward to winter 2018, we have the opportunity look forward to customers for the winter maintenance program.
Having recently signed a major deal with Virgin Atlantic covering its Boeing 787 fleet, can you give some details about how your 2017/2018 winter schedule is looking?
Over this window, we have more than 20 787s coming through our Birmingham hangar for nose-to-tail maintenance split between Virgin Atlantic and Boeing Global Fleet Support. The first aircraft is already in the hangar, and this schedule will run all the way through to March 2018.
You’ve previously detailed Monarch Aircraft Engineering’s desire to implement IT upgrades across it’s the business. How has this progressed in 2017?
We’ve upgraded our AMOS platform to the latest version and we’re starting to see some benefits from that after completion in summer 2017. Along with continuing to look for the best ways to benefit from the upgraded system, we also plan to focus on AMOS mobile. This will put the technology in the line engineers’ hands through a tablet or a smartphone device. We plan to begin the rollout of this in early 2018.
In 2017, Monarch Aircraft Engineering has also added two new line stations in Edinburgh and Nice. How are these faring?
Edinburgh has been busy with its support services for Boeing 737NG and 737MAX aircraft. Nice has also got off to a steady start with a good flow of work coming through. Like with everything, we’re always looking for the right opportunities where our line stations are concerned. If we get a customer looking for a line station in a certain location, then we’re always prepared to explore that and then look to build it up with additional customers’ once in operation.