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Ontic Readies For Brexit

Deal or no deal, the parts and MRO provider says it is set up to deal with the UK’s impending exit from the European Union.

Ontic doesn’t see any Brexit-induced slowdown occurring regardless of any deal or no-deal outcome and believes it is well covered for any eventuality.

According to Matthew Pritchard, UK site director for Ontic's Cheltenham headquarters, the company has contingencies in place with relevant aerospace authorities such as the CAA and EASA to ensure uninterrupted support in the event of a no-deal Brexit situation.

“These plans have been in place since the original leave date of March 2019,” he says. “Our supply chain is also largely UK based, so any import and export risks are mitigated.”

For airlines, MROs and OEMs alike, the shipment of parts in the event of a no-deal Brexit has also stirred concerns--with scenarios such as customs delays, taxes being placed on goods and stocking necessary inventory should border delays occur.

Ontic typically ships many of its parts to the U.S., where it runs a facility in Chatsworth, California. Given the FAA and the UK’s CAA have agreed on two separate deals covering Brexit scenarios with or without a UK-EU trade deal, Ontic doesn’t hold any concerns.

The past few years have been productive ones for the company, which focuses on extended life solutions for OEM legacy products. In the past two years, it has obtained new OEM licenses with the likes of Collins Aerospace and Meggitt, made new acquisitions such as the manufacturing and aftermarket rights for Thales’s doppler velocity sensors and prepped its Cheltenham-based UK operation for further expansion.

Ontic is also undergoing its own change of ownership. Last July, it was sold by BBA Aviation to to CVC Capital Partners' CVC Fund VII for $1.37 billion.

Pritchard says the recent acquisition of OEM licenses, such its Meggitt Sensing Systems license for signal conditioners, military chip detectors, cockpit indicators and connector harnesses, have initiated changes at its UK base.

“These recent changes have been largely focused on complex avionics and electronics, which has led to significant investment in the facility, including two new clean rooms,” says Pritchard. The new space added around 5,000 sq. ft. to the Cheltenham facility.

Pritchard says the split between commercial and defence work is roughly 50-50. “Due to the cyclical demand for some of our products this can deviate slightly,” he adds.

He cites the main challenge for Ontic is ensuring that legacy products remain supportable and are available to end customers. “This requires a lot of engineering effort as well as supply chain agility,” he says. “Changing regulation can also increase engineering effort, which can be difficult when supporting often very old technology.”

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