PMAs are still only about 2% of part sales, but growing more rapidly than OEM part sales. Josh Krotec, senior vice president of First Aviation Services, believes they could grow even more rapidly.
First supports corporate, military, government and regional aircraft in approximately equal proportions. Krotec stresses the breadth of his PMA offering: “We don’t limit PMAs to basic, non-flight-critical items like interiors . . . we have PMAs that span electronics, flight control actuation, landing gear, oxygen systems, fire suppression systems and even propellers.” About 40% of the company’s revenue comes from outside of the U.S., including Europe, Asia and Africa.
The attractions of PMAs vary, from saving up to 90% of direct part cost to reducing long delays in part delivery. In many cases, First PMAs replace on-condition OEM parts, parts not needing replacement unless excessively worn. Here, Krotec say PMAs can reduce costs sufficiently so that it is economic for all parts to be replaced during scheduled maintenance, increasing time on wing and eliminating unscheduled events.
He instances a landing-gear system inspected every six years. Many key parts in the actuator and gearbox have mean time between failures between six and 12 years, which means a high probability of unscheduled maintenance between six-year inspections if all parts aren’t replaced. “With our low-cost PMAs, they replace every part with a new PMA at every six-year inspection, which virtually guarantees zero unscheduled events. “
Krotec cites three main hurdles to wider PMA use.
First, FAA does not enforce its requirement that OEMs to make maintenance manuals available to all owners and maintenance providers. “If no independent companies are involved in maintenance of a part, there will be no demand for a PMA.”
Second is lessor resistance to PMAs, although Krotec says this is decreasing. Third is a lack of U.S. bilateral safety agreements with all countries. However, Krotec believes this gap is slowly being repaired.