PEMCO has signed an MRO licensing deal to be a North American service provider for the forthcoming Mitsubishi Regional Jet. How significant is this approval for the company?
The selection of PEMCO by Mitsubishi is a validation of our Lean strategy that began a little bit over two years ago. As we know, the Japanese perfected the Lean philosophy and are ahead of everyone else in the world when it comes to gaining efficiencies. For us, it is a great honor that our efforts in this area are being rewarded by Mitsubishi placing their trust in our operations. Mitsubishi was very meticulous in their selection process. We have seen this with the deployment of the aircraft. Quality is very important to them and can only be obtained by having a robust process in place.
Do you foresee potential for a big MRJ operating market in North America?
The MRJ will be a high quality aircraft delivering an extraordinary experience to passengers. Mitsubishi is doing very thorough work on the design on this aircraft and no detail is too small. The aircraft, without a doubt, will gain a foothold in the USA and PEMCO will be there to support customers as needed.
PEMCO is renowned for its PTF programs. Last month, it launched pax-to-flex combi (three possible configurations) and pax-to-freighter conversion programs for the Boeing 737-700. How will these enhance your PTF offerings?
The -700 is a natural progression for PEMCO. We have three great products on the -300/-400 series: full freighter, quick change, and combi. The decision to enter the -700 evolution was well thought out. The preparation took almost a year. Part of our strategy was to find the right partner. Chisholm Enterprises has been a long-term customer of PEMCO, offering high-quality services to its customers. This Flex-Combi provides Chisholm with a flexible aircraft to meet variable operating requirements. We foresee many opportunities for an aircraft of this type.
Will the passenger to freighter segment remain robust in terms of opportunities for PEMCO?
We have seen a new spark in the classic conversion from 2016. We believe the increase of oil price has boosted the feedstock for classic aircraft. This, combined with the ever-growing e-commerce demand, has amplified the need for converted aircraft. For 2017, we have filled the slots under our existing plan for this section of the business.
PEMCO has also just extended an existing maintenance contract with Frontier for more than 60 A320s. How will this build on previous agreements between the two companies?
Frontier has been our customer since 2015 when they awarded us an interior modification that was done under budget and on-time. At the end of 2015, we received their Tech-Ops Excellence award and a heavy maintenance agreement for one-year. At the end of 2016, Frontier issued an RFQ to several capable providers. We provided Frontier a comprehensive package that, when combined with our first-class Airbus experience, led to our selection for the next three years. We are very pleased with their selection and our team has been working really hard at exceeding expectations on this program.