Two weeks after acquiring maintenance provider Apple Aviation, STS Aviation Group has further grown its UK footprint by acquiring a widebody hangar at Birmingham Airport formerly owned by defunct MRO Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL).
STS Aviation Group plans to make the 200,000 sq. ft. facility in England’s "second city" operational again from January 2020 and says it will mostly focus on modifications work along with a line of “heavy checks or two.” The hangar will work under the approvals held by Newquay-based Apple Aviation, which include UK CAA and FAA repair station approvals.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed by STS, but company CEO PJ Anson says the facility will act as a central European hub for the growing business, which in the past few years has added more than a dozen U.S. line stations as well as acquiring the NAAS division of Triumph Aviation Services. “We’re extremely focused on ramping up operations and getting the Birmingham facility filled with aircraft,” Anson says.
The lease transfer of the Birmingham hangar, which MAEL had on a 70-year lease period, is expected to be granted by the airport authority in early November, STS confirmed.
STS says it will look to employ new technical staff at the facility, retaining just eight people comprised of existing security at the site. It will initially begin operations with a small team, with manpower increases dependent on maintenance workload.
However, it has already appointed a leader for the site. Michael Adams, formerly of Etihad Airways Engineering and Monarch Aircraft Engineering, will manage the facility with immediate effect as part of a new role overseeing STS Aviation Group’s European activities. Adams will take on dual roles as both CEO of Apple Aviation and senior VP of maintenance, engineering and modification at the U.S.-headquartered company.
Following the collapse of MAEL in January 2019, the Birmingham facility, which opened in late 2013, was put on the market by administrator KPMG along with two hangars at its Luton headquarters. UK-based commercial real estate company Avison Young was appointed to market the hangars in March of this year. This summer, it set a deadline for prospective buyers to submit a best offer for the Luton facilities, but as of October, no sale has been confirmed by KPMG.
Other MAEL assets offloaded since its collapse include its UK line maintenance stations to five entities in January, the CAMO business sold to digital records specialist Trustflight the following month, while its former Luton-based engineering training academy was acquired by the British School of Aviation in early October.