Singapore is a major industrial and strategic center for UTAS, with two MRO sites at Changi and Bedok covering nearly one million sq. ft., and 1,500 employees. Now it is adding a parts distribution center (at the show here it signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Satair), and it plans to open another in Beijing in just a few weeks. “They have critical parts and hardware for customers in the region,” says Ajay Agrawal, VP of aftermarket for UTAS.
The $14 billion-revenue company now generates over $4 billion from commercial aftermarket parts and services, with more than 40% from long-term contracts with airlines for three to 10 years. “We’re seeing very strong renewal rates and expect that 40% to grow,” says Agrawal.
Driving that growth is UTAS’ higher win rate on new programs, as well as fleet growth. “We have more content on newer programs than retiring ones,” he notes.
To meet demand, UTAS fields 6,000 customer service representatives around the world, including 240 field reps. Its two Singapore MRO shops – covering aerostructures MRO for nacelle system components and airframe composite components; manufacturing for engine controls and drive generators; and manufacturing for aerospace components, gears and gear shafts – are just two of 50-plus MRO sites globally.
“We’re getting closer to customers,” says Agrawal. And that’s necessary because they are becoming ever more demanding when it comes to cost, dispatch reliability and flexibility in their support programs. These include different arrangements tied to utilization of the aircraft, such as nacelle maintenance and cost-per-landing for wheels and brakes.
Extensive work – and investment – says Agrawal, is going into supporting the entry into service of new models, such as the Boeing 787, Airbus A350, A320neo and 737 MAX. A challenge, he adds, is to scale up support ahead of the ramp-up.
Another is to leverage technology as fleets produce more data from the aircraft, and to analyze it to increase dispatch reliability through prognostics and preventive maintenance.