Aircraft Maintenance Technology

APR-MAY 2018

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BUSINESS AVIATION periods, and manufacturers' power-by-the-hour programs, business aviation maintenance relies more than ever on the relationships between MRO facilities and manufacturers. Whilst the barriers to entry for newcomers are high, which in some cases reduces the competition; longer-range aircraft have many choices for maintenance. This is because many competing facilities are within nonstop range, thus motivating all facilities to provide service excellence at competitive pricing in order to be able to compete. For these aircraft, business aviation maintenance has become a truly global business." Amidst all this global growth and high-flying business jets there's still room for the savvy regional player. Oriens Maintenance Services is the newly established arm of Oriens Aviation, the authorized Pilatus Center for the British Isles. Maintaining the single-engine propjet PC-12 is the prime focus at Oriens' Biggin Hill base. "There is some very exciting growth within the sector at the moment," says Dave Plumpton, Oriens' director of maintenance. This mirrors an overall 4.3 percent uptick in business aviation growth in the UK during 2017, and 5.5 percent in Europe. Despite Brexit, "Business aviation growth in 2017 in the UK was well ahead of GDP growth and never has there been as much optimism as there is now," he contends. That optimism is tempered by parts availability says JSSI's Winzar for independents. "MRO consolidation and access to parts will continue to present challenges. Selecting the right facility and taking a more proactive approach to planning scheduled maintenance will be a key factor in managing maintenance costs," says Winzar. Understanding parts requirements and having options for supply is important too. CHALLENGES ON THE ROAD AHEAD If parts supply is important, attracting, training, and hanging on to technicians is critical — be the MRO an indy or factory operation. Oriens' Plumpton says the industrywide challenge is prompting his company to look for alternative solutions to the traditional recruitment options. "We have concentrated hard on developing our internal skills base, while also looking to recruit at various levels within the skills requirements. The internal motivation associated with personal development has already shown significant motivation benefits" — benefits which he says prompt staff buy-in and ultimately generate more efficient ways of maintaining aircraft. The internal nurturing of technical talent is also espoused by FAI Aviation Group. That doesn't mean, however, that the company won't recruit from outside. Chairman Axtmann says, "We undertake in-house training and also seek to hire FAI TECHNIK Nuremberg, Germany. FAI Pentagon2000 Software Inc. Come see us at Dublin Aviation Summit Dublin, Ireland May 14-16, 2018

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