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Inside MRO News Briefs And Contracts November, 2019

MRO growth in Asia-Pacific, consolidations and drone inspections are highlights for this month.

HIGHLIGHTS

Gameco, Boeing Partner on 737-800BCF Program

Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Gameco) has entered into a partnership with Boeing to introduce a 737-800 converted freighter (BCF) production line at its hangar at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

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The Chinese maintenance provider, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, is targeting 2020 for its first conversion.

Since being launched in 2016, Boeing says the 737-800BCF has achieved 130 orders and commitments and the company is on pace to deliver 17 aircraft in 2019, more than doubling last year’s output. Newer customers include SpiceXpress, the cargo division of Indian airline SpiceJet, and lessor GECAS, which ordered 10 aircraft along with 15 options in June this year.

The new partnership expands Gameco’s third-party offerings as a Boeing provider, having joined Boeing Global Services’ MRO network in April 2019.

Gameco’s upcoming production line also expands to three the number of 737-800BCF conversion lines in China.

Morson Aircraft Engineering To Cease Operations

The collapse of Thomas Cook Group has had knock-on effects for the UK’s MRO industry, with one of its maintenance providers announcing it is set to close all operations by the end of this year.

Morson Aircraft Engineering Services (MAES), set up in September 2018 as the MRO offshoot of technical recruiters Morson Group to offer European Union Aviation Safety Agency Part 145-approved line maintenance services, is in the process of closing seven UK-based line stations in a phased shutdown.

Line stations at Belfast, Bristol, East Midlands Airport and Newcastle have already closed, while operations at Birmingham, Gatwick and Glasgow will cease by the end of 2019, Scott Wells, director of MAES, confirmed.

Wells says Thomas Cook Airlines accounted for around 75% of the MRO’s  revenues. As of early October, its customer base was comprised of nine airlines in addition to work carried out on an ad-hoc basis. Other airline customers included Virgin Atlantic and Latvian carrier SmartLynx.

Wells says the airline’s liquidation meant the business was unable to continue. “MAES commenced operations in partnership with Thomas Cook Airlines, but we sought to diversify our revenue quickly and, in our first year of operations, sealed contracts with seven other airlines,” he told Inside MRO. “While this was an excellent start to the growth and development of MAES, Thomas Cook Airlines still represented the majority of our revenue, and its collapse made it impossible for us to sustain operations.”

AAR Tests Drones for Aircraft Inspection

AAR is starting a one-year trial using a Donecle drone for aircraft inspections at its Miami facility. Because aircraft inspections by drone are not an approved FAA procedure, AAR will spend the next year performing the task with drones, using its current manual process in parallel to gather data.

This involves putting scaffolding around an aircraft and having one or two technicians perform a manual inspection and document visible discrepancies, says Rahul Ghai, AAR chief digital officer. Such inspections typically take 10-12 hr. He conservatively estimates a time savings of at least 50% by using a drone for the same inspection process, plus the safety benefit of technicians not having to climb around an aircraft.

Four safety inspectors have been taught to use Donecle drones and inspect the images they provide. AAR selected its Miami facility because of the mixed narrowbody and widebody fleets it services. The MRO will focus on narrowbody inspections for now but may expand them to widebodies. 

CONTRACTS

AAR expanded its component repair contract with BAE Systems Regional Aircraft to include a wider range of components for its regional jet support programs for out-of-production aircraft; services will be performed in Amsterdam.

AJW Group won an Ethiopian Airlines contract to provide Boeing 737NG component support, including repairs at AJW Technique.

Collins Aerospace expanded a contract with China Aviation Supplies to provide nacelle spare parts for Airbus A320ceo and Boeing 737NG and 757 aircraft.

Embraer has a won a Myanmar National Airlines contract to provide E190 component support under its Pool Program, which has been selected by every E-Jet operator in the Asia-Pacific region, covering 60 E-Jets operated by six airlines in four countries.

FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering was selected by Okay Airlines for 737 line maintenance at Harbin, China.

GE Aviation secured a Vistara order for 26 Leap 1As for 13 new A320neos, increasing the airline’s Leap-powered A320neo-family fleet (in service and on order) to 60; Vistara also signed a long-term maintenance agreement covering all 120 engines.

Joramco was selected by Kenya Airways for heavy checks on six Boeing 787s, Ryanair to provide 737NG heavy maintenance (two parallel lines) through the first quarter of 2020, and MNG Airlines to perform C checks on two A330-600Fs and one A330-200F.

KLM UK Engineering won a contract from Aurigny Air Services to perform E195 heavy maintenance at Norwich, as well as a contract from SAS to provide 737NG heavy maintenance starting in 2020.

Liebherr-Aerospace has won a 10-year ATR contract to supply components, repairs and Pay-by-the-Hour services for more than 300 ATR 42/72-600s.

Safran Nacelles won a five-year Virgin Atlantic contract to provide A330 nacelle MRO.

Contract Source: SpeedNews

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