STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Industry Leaders Discuss Key Issues Facing Aviation MRO

The annual Aviation Maintenance magazine State of the Industry Leadership Survey has always attracted great interest from the MRO industry. We contacted a wide range of industry leaders, from airline MROs to independents, industry associations, airplane manufacturers and engine OEMs.
We received replies from chairmen and chief executives, vice presidents and directors. All have been candid with their answers.

We asked them the following questions

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?

Many of the responders answered all of the questions, while some answered those that they felt were most relevant to their own business. Answers with not applicable were omitted.
We hope that you find this survey enlightening and useful to your own business activities.

Dany Kleiman Group Vice President, MRO Services, AAR
Dany Kleiman Group Vice President, MRO Services, AAR

Dany Kleiman Group Vice President, MRO Services, AAR

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: We increased our capacity to support wide body work with the opening of our Rockford, IL, facility. We are expanding our support of E-JETS and also anticipate additional work on cargo aircraft and some wide-body aircraft platforms that we have not typically serviced previously. AAR recently announced its foray into the ATR aircraft market, acquiring inventory from ASL Aviation Holdings’ subsidiary ACLAS Global to support a new PBH contract for ASL Group’s airlines, including component support and repair for about 100 passenger and cargo aircraft, including ATR aircraft.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Predictive processes based on data analytics is something we have been investigating for some time. Predictive processes will help AAR deliver high quality maintenance checks based on customer requirements for timeframes.
Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: We are not currently investigating, but plan to do so in the future.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Employees fresh out of aircraft mechanic schools are valuable but do require additional education by us. An A&P license is a license to train. AAR is working with educational institutions to have them present General Familiarization on the type of airframes we work on. In Oklahoma, for instance, we hire students from Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, which has lead the charge on this and it has paid off, both for the student and for AAR Aircraft Services in Oklahoma City.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: We offer ongoing education through an online Learning Management System (LMS).  Much of this is required. In addition, we offer tuition reimbursement for those wanting to continue their education with advanced degrees, licensures, certifications and credentials.

Sarah MacLeod Executive Director, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA)
Sarah MacLeod Executive Director, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA)

Sarah MacLeod Executive Director, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA)

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: Hello regulatory reform. When President Trump first introduced his “2-for-1” policy, ARSA saw opportunity in the Aviation Rule-making Advisory Committee (ARAC) as a venue for the industry to get hands-on with the process. The February Executive Order directing agencies to create ‘Regulatory Reform Task Forces’ put the opportunity in writing; the FAA delegated to ARAC the task force’s responsibility to review existing rules and recommend repeal, modification or replacement. ARSA’s primary goal is to ensure the definition of “rule” remains as expansive as possible: Let’s put every-thing on the block and see what cuts. As we clean house in the United States, we can push for simplification with other countries by cutting down the barriers to acceptance between NAAs.
Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: It’s time to really focus on aligning bilateral agreements. There has not been coordination among and between design/production and maintenance interests among and between different countries, so there is no alignment of standards when technical and maintenance implementation procedures are developed. In ARSA’s opinion, there should be no TIP produced without a MAG/MIP and the two should be built in concert. The association has been fighting to correct parts documentation is-sues in the U.S.-EU MAG since late 2015; rather than relying on the equivalence of the two systems for parts production, the regulators got caught up by the “magic forms” (EASA Form 1 and the FAA Form 8130-3) on the maintenance side. As a result, ARSA ended up needing to provide its own solution (Form E100) just to keep U.S. repair stations performing maintenance under a dual release.
Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: It certainly is taking up a lot of attention. From a regulatory standpoint, the biggest limitation is the bias towards new rules to cope with new technologies. Just because we have a “shiny thing” doesn’t mean current regulations can’t handle it. Part 21 and the applicable airworthiness standards provide a system of compliance for product and parts designers regardless of what methods they choose to produce a specific article. Repair stations can produce parts in support of a repair or alteration as long as the method is acceptable – not “approved,” but “acceptable” – and the work re-turns the product to its original or properly altered condition. We’ve got the rules, the challenge is to reasonably enforce them and let businesses take advantage of improving technology.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Regulators need to think about their own data generation, streamline processes and put information gathered to use as quickly as possible. It’s the same challenge businesses face: Disseminate the wealth of information produced and put it to real, productive use. The FAA’s Aviation Data Ex-change program is something ARSA has supported as a mechanism to manage service difficulty reports and perhaps as a blueprint for other agencies. In theory, AVDEX would be a mechanism for complying with reporting responsibilities while giving broad access to what’s actually happening in the field. We need to continue building opportunities to be smart with the information that agency’s make us produce, just like operators and maintainers are being smart about flight data or maintenance records.
Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: This does not actually apply to us directly, but training methodologies must be adaptable to the different methods of learning. As the technologies become more accessible, the pricing will reflect the expansion, making the use more viable for small businesses.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: ARSA has long heard anecdotal horror stories about the ‘time to profitability’ for new technicians, and put the question to its members. According to 29 responses to a poll conducted via ARSA.org in April, it takes 15 months to turn a new non-certificated technician into a “productive, profitable employee.” New A&P mechanics fare a little better, but still cost their employers more than nine months of on-boarding and basic on-the-job training. The specifics may vary, but the fact is that no-body shows up ready on their first day. There will always be some orientation required, but surely we need not waste a year’s worth of a young career.
Our friends in the part 147 community are pushing hard to overhaul the aviation maintenance training school rule to focus on competency and allow schools the flexibility to teach needed skills. The industry can lend its weight to that effort by making clear that reality described in our poll numbers.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: ARSA continues to invest in its training program, not just to train its own people – though we all benefit from it – but to turn three decades of compliance expertise into public good. Having built an online library of more than 50 hour-long sessions on topics ranging from aircraft parts to part 145, we’re now forming that core of material into a curriculum of regulatory expertise. When it’s ready, we’ll be able to give managers, technicians and even executives a roadmap to applied understanding of aviation regulation.
We invite the aviation community to follow along at ARSA.org. It is not only the jumping-off point for training sessions, but also a record of the association’s broad efforts across the issues discussed in this survey and more…

Anne Brachet European Vice President, Air France KLM Engineering & Maintenance
Anne Brachet European Vice President, Air France KLM Engineering & Maintenance

Anne Brachet European Vice President, Air France KLM Engineering & Maintenance

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that
your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: The MRO market continues to show sustained growth also in the upcoming years, but the nature of growth is changing rapidly now and shifting towards the new generation aircraft such as 787, A350, 737MAX and A320Neo. It shows how important AFI KLM E&M’s ambition to have early presence on these new platforms has been. And the continued positive business development and major successes in sales with Xiamen Airlines, Thai Airways or AirAsia show that we are a serious player in this new market. At the same time we see the competitive landscape changing rapidly. You could say that the competitors of today play in a different league than the ones of the past. Therefore, based on the strengths of its airline/MRO profile, AFI KLM E&M continues to improve itself on the things that they are already doing today like safety, operational excellence, cost and competitiveness while at the same time it focuses on increasing added value to its products by innovation and incorporation of new digital opportunities.   
Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: It breaks down into several distinct approaches and convictions. The OEM and OAM are important current and future players in our market. Due to the nature of our relations, finding a balanced symbiosis is key, so we continue our strategy of forging partnerships with them, e.g. the A350 and the Boeing 787, to get access to licenses, including for the Leap engine. Furthermore AFI KLM E&M continues expanding its worldwide MRO network, especially in Asia. Such local facilities are important to expand market presence and market share in local oriented markets and are also key in providing cost effective services for our customers. The extension of our engine part repair capabilities, whether through partnerships such as the joint venture with Safran, is part of this same rationale for optimizing our costs.
As AFI KLM E&M puts its customers central in its approach, the excellence and integrated nature of operations are prime concerns and AFI KLM E&M is looking for finding a further hassle free way for its customer interactions and always deliver the products they really look for.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: 3D printing is broadly used today in our facilities to help our engineers especially to quickly prototype tooling and then support our employee innovative program. Of course we are also looking to additive manufacturing as a promising technology to help to manufacture ‘on demand’ at our facilities and thus reduce our inventory costs. This is valid mainly for slow movers inventory. We are pioneering in this area and have some cabin parts carried out by 3D printing that are currently flying on our aircraft.
For OEM parts, we are discussing with some of them to pave the future of the supply chain. Three challenges at least are at stake: approval of machines and process, trace of parts printed locally and license process between OEM and the maintenance site.
In the long run, we can also imagine to have a pool of machines, located in different parts of the world, able to print structural parts (metallic) and to significantly improve the supply chain experience of airlines.
But 3D printing is just a small portion of new technologies we are investigating or developing: aircraft automated inspections by drones, augmented and virtual reality for maintenance tasks and for training, cobots to support human skills an efforts, and more generally IoT technologies are the core of our MRO Lab program that is running in a fertile collaboration between our engineers, our partners and our skilled professional. Technology is a commodity; our best assets are our know-how and the close knowledge of our customer’s needs in order to selects the more promising use cases.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: With our PROGNOS portfolio of solutions, we are developing the maintenance services of the future driven by Big Data – the gathering and analysis of the wealth of technical data generated by aircraft fleets. The expected outcome is to predict failures before they happen, which is a critical issue for airline operations.
Developed as part of our “MRO Lab” R&D program, this suite of exclusive solutions relies on processing and using the data generated by aircraft systems so that alerts can be flagged up when under certain parameters are reached. AFI KLM E&M is setting itself apart from other industry players thanks to its MRO/Airline profile. This confers a particular status thanks to which we can cover the entire spectrum of maintenance data, and that includes all aircraft and all constituent parts of those aircraft. As such, we can also combine the use of maintenance data coming from the shops and data from aircraft condition usage, enabling us to refine and further improve the value of the generated information and associated mathematical formula to be applied.
AFI KLM E&M can either further develop market solutions or fully develop specific solutions. Two solutions are already industrialized to be offered in operational format for airlines. The first one is the Prognos Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) suite, which can carry out analysis of engine data and predict faults. The second one, dubbed Prognos Aircraft, consists of a critical system performance monitoring and alerts, first developed for A380.
Operators derive significant value from these solutions. As soon as you can detect weak signals upstream of an impending failure, we can, in conjunction with the client, optimally plan the maintenance work in light of their operational constraints. With Prognos, fleets are longer and more efficient available. Eventually, the amount of unscheduled maintenance falls dramatically, which has virtuous effects on airline Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).”
In the medium term, AFI KLM E&M plans to further broaden the scope of its Research & Development work in predictive maintenance areas. The Prognos for aircraft solution, which started focus on the Airbus super-jumbo, has been adapted yet to cover all of its systems according to prioritization based on Air France and KLM operator’s experience on Delays & Cancelations, and is currently developed for the latest Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s. It will be applied soon to most of the other large commercial aircraft families including our legacy aircraft.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: Leading the field for web-based digital training solutions and materials, AFI KLM E&M has now gone even further with the 787 by developing ground-breaking systems targeting the digitization and virtualization of training resources.
On its way to developing these ultra-modern solutions, AFI KLM E&M designed a virtual aircraft system. The fruit of a partnership with HOP! Training by ICARE, an AIR FRANCE KLM group subsidiary, which developed this system for CRJ family aircraft, the virtual aircraft reproduces the entire aircraft and its systems in a dynamic 3D environment. We have reproduced and animated a KLM Boeing 787 to achieve this solution. The visualization system allows us to virtually access the aircraft, its cockpit, its technical compartments, open the engine and APU and it’s possible to trigger different pre-conceived maintenance scenarios to enable the technicians to interact with the aircraft’s systems in real time to remedy a problem.
Used during EASA Part 147 type training and approved by Aviation Authorities, the system offers genuine added-value in terms of simplicity for instructors and trainees alike, as it allows them to simultaneously combine practice and theory segments, removing the need to access the physical aircraft. As a result, the practical training course lasts no more than five days, and technicians in the qualification stage now have the opportunity to implement their theoretical knowledge directly and practically via a perfect reproduction of the aircraft, its systems, and their behavior.
Virtual reality is also at the heart of the system developed for engine run-up training of Engine technicians and mechanics. Rather than having to wait for a Full Flight Simulator to become available, personnel can now visualize a 787 cockpit in an immersive 3D environment and carry out the necessary tests.
These cutting-edge solutions are used for in-house training of AFI KLM E&M personnel and also destined to be proposed to customers. The 787 is a formidable opportunity to modernize and propel our training systems into the 2.0 era, this trend is part of a wider determination to develop a digital offering even further, based on cooperative usage and online training to maximize the effectiveness and coverage of our content for the benefit of our clients.

Charles Picasso Chief Executive Officer, ATP (Aircraft Technical Publishers)
Charles Picasso Chief Executive Officer, ATP (Aircraft Technical Publishers)

Charles Picasso Chief Executive Officer, ATP (Aircraft Technical Publishers)

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: MROs and maintenance providers have to constantly juggle the flood of ever-changing and interdependent information—from mission-critical technical and regulatory content to compliance information. Our mission is to make life easier for them through more intelligent content and information management. When I took the helm as CEO in 2015, we started by interconnecting all of this related data and embedding this ‘smart content’ into their workflows to help them seamlessly manage all of their maintenance-related processes on a unified cloud platform. For years, technicians have been envisioning a day where they could simply enter their tail number and see only the relevant information—including maintenance pubs, airworthiness directives, service bulletins, compliance tracking etc.— specific to an aircraft. Going forward, we see a tremendous opportunity to deliver on that vision with an aircraft centric approach that give users all of this information at their fingertips to do their jobs faster and more accurately than ever before.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: Global MRO spending is forecasted to increase 26 percent from 2016 to 2026— going from about $67bn to almost $100bn. And a 2015 MRO survey showed that the most prominent new technologies by 2020 will be aircraft health monitoring systems and predictive maintenance. Meanwhile Airbus forecasted that they’ll need more than 33,000 new aircraft globally by 2035, mostly due to the rising demand in Asia-Pacific, which will struggle to hire and train enough maintenance professionals. We’re focused on leveraging IT to help MROs and airlines to address these challenges, among others. For example, our diagnostics and reliability solutions employ a diagnostic reasoning engine, combined with a best practice database, to enable an inexperienced technician—or even any service or support staff— to consistently perform on par with experts with decades of experience under their belts.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: I think it will grow in importance since engineers can speed design and production, using lighter and more complex structures that would be difficult to achieve otherwise. In an ever-ending quest to make aircraft lighter, more efficient and safer, we’re seeing companies like General Electric using 3D printing for the CFM56 engine. Within the next five years, gigantic 3D printers could be used to create significant aircraft components, such as the wings or rudders. As the variety and sophistication of aircraft continues to grow, there’ll be an increase need for documentation, regulations and compliance tracking to make sure that all of these interdependent pieces of the puzzle fit together seamlessly while maintaining the safety standards of the industry and the asset value of the aircraft.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: At our core, we’re a data-driven company. We believe that we can help expand industry value overall by interconnecting data, workflows, and processes in order to help all constituents operate more efficiently and effectively. Our Aviation Hub captures an immense amount of information that could be mined and useful to OEM or MROs and there are a lot of potential applications that we’re looking into. Today, our diagnostics and reliability solutions leverage all kinds of maintenance data that helps to uncover hidden trends and identify defects and performance issues, but that’s just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential big data applications in the future.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: Virtual reality technology is interesting and I can see how it could be transformative in boosting the effectiveness and efficiency of not only pilot training, but also of maintenance professionals. For example, it could be used to accelerate the training of new technicians who might some day be able to virtually take apart and put together an engine using a VR headset. It could also be used to provide virtual maintenance instructions with the mechanic having the ability to virtually see how the parts fit together alongside instructions for performing the work.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Training is certainly relevant to our customers. As I mentioned, the industry will struggle to keep up with the demand for qualified technicians, especially as more experienced workers continue to retire. One way we help is by capturing their collective field expertise and best practices in order to accelerate the development of new technicians. By leveraging technology, we can enable to them to perform at an expert level by guiding them through process of identifying the root cause of problems and going step by step towards resolving it.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: We serve many constituencies— from maintenance professionals and owner/operators to pilots and schools— so part of our mission is to help support them in these efforts. Our services support the education efforts of these constituencies by allowing them to capture the knowledge of their subject matter experts so that new employees can benefit from this information.

Kenny Singletary Aftermarket Program Manager, BAE Systems
Kenny Singletary Aftermarket Program Manager, BAE Systems

Kenny Singletary Aftermarket Program Manager, BAE Systems

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: BAE Systems is looking into line replaceable unit (LRU) exchanges and LRU overhaul, in addition to repair, asset pool programs, and expanded asset management programs based on price per flight hour for entry into service for A320Neos and 737 MAX aircraft.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business?
A: Will the international MRO business still want to work with OEM LRU aftermarket businesses in the future? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed? There is a concern that third party MROs may attempt to develop parts manufacturer approval repair procedures that could jeopardize the life and operational performance on the engine control products BAE Systems develops, produced and services. As well, the use and purchases of used/surplus materials in LRU repairs and asset management, as historically most airline customers have purchased new.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: Additive manufacturing is exploding across the industry. Many of the aerospace & defense primes have established centers of excellence to understand the technology and to increase the amount of additively produced hardware. BAE Systems has established a multi-site group whose focus is to bring AM technology into the product portfolio. The AM industry produced $5.2bn in 2015 and was less than one percent of the total goods manufactured in the world. GE has introduced a number of parts in their next generation aircraft engines and have saved several hundred pounds of weight per engine.  Limitations with this technology are like anything that is new: not enough products in safety critical applications to fully understand long term data with additively produced hardware.  Designing for additive manufacturing is a work in progress, as well.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Our Engine Systems product support teams already utilize some big data to measure field performance on our engine control products, i.e. our Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC).
From a broader prospective, unfortunately, we do not currently have access to the aircraft data that would be necessary to have an effect on our business. Over time, we suspect that the airlines will see that a partnership and sharing of the data will allow us to collaborate with the data.  Only then will we all benefit and be able to use the aircraft data to find problems with the hardware before it occurs, as well as use that data in the shop to determine the root cause of the problem.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: BAE Systems has invested internally in augmented reality which advances human visualization and understanding. The technology can be used on the manufacturing floor for any touch labor operation where the VR technology can show what steps are next while performing an operation. This technology can also be used as a training and development aid for engineering.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Given the complexity of the work we do, few individuals fresh out of education are fully qualified for the work that we do. However, through BAE Systems’ on the job training, mentoring and formal development programs, we are able to help new hires bridge what they learned in school into practical skills that we can use.
We partner with universities to help inform their curriculums. In addition, we believe that robust co-op and internship programs have a major impact on helping new graduates be job-ready.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: Ongoing education is encouraged and financial assistance is provided by BAE Systems for employees to further their educations. BAE Systems has an ‘on line’ training program that allows the employee to register for training programs and classes. BAE Systems offers company-provided training (on the job and external), tuition reimbursement programs to enable employees to advance their degrees, and experiential learning programs (mentoring, job rotations, etc) which advance the education and development of existing employees.

Todd Duncan Chairman, Duncan Aviation
Todd Duncan Chairman, Duncan Aviation

Todd Duncan Chairman, Duncan Aviation

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: Duncan Aviation has invested heavily in future business opportunities for all areas of our business.
For airframe, we continue to work with the most popular OEMs and maintain authorized service center status where it makes sense to do so, partnering with the OEMs on the care of our mutual customers.
In engine, we consistently evaluate the launch locations for our engine rapid response teams, who provide in-field service for unscheduled events and AOG services. We currently have 14 launch offices. We also invested heavily with Honeywell for our HTF7000 authorization and TFE731 Heavy authorization, which allows us to perform hot sections and overhauls on the TFE731 engine. To support this, we will be building an engine test cell at our Lincoln engine shop location this summer.
We have also invested heavily in STCs for various ADS-B mandate solutions. Duncan Aviation has access to or holds 37 FAA-approved solutions for ADS-B, which allows the company to perform upgrades on more than 100 aircraft models. In addition, Duncan Aviation is the only Rockwell Collins-authorized facility that can perform repairs and upgrades to the TDR-94 and TDR-94D transponders required to comply with the ADS-B mandate.
We have also invested in many other STCs. We hold or have access to FANS solutions for 24 aircraft models. We have also invested in STCs for connectivity, including Gogo Business Aviation 4G solutions, as well as STCs for Cabin Management System (CMS) installations.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: Duncan Aviation has a European Customer Advisory Board that consists of members representing both operators and MRO facilities in Europe. In round table discussions with the members, it became apparent that there are numerous burdensome inconsistencies between the FAA and EASA regarding MRO rules and regulations. As follow-up to the meeting, we submitted a letter to both organizations with recommendations for improvements that would better serve our global customers without compromising safety.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, allows aircraft manufacturers to reduce costs to produce components and shorten manufacturing times. At Duncan Aviation, use of this technology is growing slowly. We need to have very robust processes and controls given the safety and reliability concerns that come with any new technology. Currently, we are only using it in non aircraft application. We could see it being used in interior parts applications in the future.
Right now, we have several 3D printers in use, mostly for making connector covers for components and plugs for landing gear. We design and print our own connector covers as a way of reducing customer costs while allowing us to print what we need when we need it. Our landing gear plugs reduce the amount of time it takes to mask a landing gear for painting to around one hour rather than 7-8 hours. Instead of taping around every item that doesn’t need to be painted, we can custom-design and print plugs that snap onto the gear. The plugs can be cleaned and reused, reducing our use of masking tape.

Q: What are its limitations?
A: For aircraft, 3D printing is great for prototype printing, but it is limited by the type of material available. Print size is also a limitation.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Several things come to mind when thinking about big data and its use. First of all, our volume allows us to leverage scale and strategically invest in technology. We have a very sophisticated work order system that captures critical information about every task we complete. This includes data that we are required to capture and data that we choose to capture. Collectively, this data helps us better serve our customers in terms of setting fact-based expectations, identifying options, anticipating parts requirements and maximizing efficiency. Additionally, we are developing a knowledge-based system that captures and leverages the expertise and ‘tribal knowledge’ that is so valuable in consistently producing quality products and services. At Duncan Aviation, more than 400 of our team members have 20 or more years of service with us; we want to make sure that knowledge does not walk out the front door when they retire.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: Duncan Aviation has been using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to enhance training for years. Most often, it’s through the use of flight simulators at technical training schools. VR helps to reinforce the learning and increases efficiency by providing virtual lessons to our maintenance technicians and pilots.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: Duncan Aviation invests significant resources in our team members’ training and development. This comes in many forms, including new team member on-boarding, technical training schools, leadership programs, and internal hands-on learning. Our training strategy aligns the business needs of the company with effective training solutions. The result is improved performance. Duncan Aviation also supports team members through tuition reimbursement. Team members can use this benefit to help with the costs of finishing a degree or earning their private pilot license. We have the best people in the industry working here. Investing in education and development shows our team members that we value them. It also ensures our customers continue to receive the highest quality of work from us.

Zilvinas Lapinskas CEO, FL TECHNICS
Zilvinas Lapinskas CEO, FL TECHNICS

Zilvinas Lapinskas CEO, FL TECHNICS

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: Geography-wise, the Asian market remains as the one with the largest potential. Local fleets keep expanding by hundreds of airplanes each year while local MRO industry is developing with a slower pace. This gives opportunities for established MROs, particularly from Europe, which bring European practices to the region.
Product-wise, we plan further developing all our products with a particular focus on base maintenance, line maintenance, spare parts supply, as well as Engine repair and support management. Following the launch of an MRO hangar in Jakarta in 2016, we are able to provide these products to the region’s carriers thus supplementing Training and Engineering support that we have been providing for Asian Pacific customers from quite some time already.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: As the pressure from airlines and OEM grows, MRO companies are forced to explore new ways of cutting prices. Unfortunately, in some regions and cases this may lead to certain quality and safety-related risks. This concerns not only maintenance processes, but spare parts supply as well. Some suppliers might be substituting products which may have a significant impact on airline and MRO operations.
Thus while cost optimization and exploration of more efficient maintenance is very important for the industry, it’s vital to stick with aviation’s main rule – safety first.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: Additive manufacturing promises a lot of advantages, but it’s still a rather long way to make such technologies truly efficient and safe. Three key issues which are still to be overcome are: standardization of materials, software, processes, etc.; improvement of system’s user friendliness; and rapid prototyping change to rapid manufacture/automation of manufacture

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Bid data’s main goal is to create additional value to customers. Equipped with large data volumes, maintenance teams can monitor aircraft components in real-time thus timely detecting any faults or predicted in advance. Bid data can allow the replacement of parts before they fail, preventing aircraft groundings and leading to better efficiency in the maintenance, overhaul and repair process. Eventually, this might reduce the number of AOGs and reduce check costs. At FL Technics, we are monitoring the development of such systems and certainly looking forward to implementing such solutions.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: FL Technics is looking to invest at virtual reality solutions for training purposes. Currently, we are already estimating investments into VR technologies, since wearable devices and virtual reality (VR) applications will be the future of Part-147 organizations. VR courses, online training coupled with on-job-training will be essential advantages for any training organization to win the competition.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Those universities or training organizations which provide both theoretical and practical training – their students are highly appreciated by aviation employers. However, we understand that only few organizations have capabilities to provide practical experience. Thus we cooperate with various local educational institutions, as well as provide our own practical training courses for newcomers in order to ensure the flow of qualified new team members.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: We are proud of having an in-house Part-147 organization that conducts continuous training and qualification training for existing staff. Training is provided by in-house instructors and in our own facilities thus ensuring the employees receive the training in accordance with our requirements and in line with the company’s goals and values.

Derek Zimmerman President, Product Support, Gulfstream
Derek Zimmerman President, Product Support, Gulfstream

Derek Zimmerman President, Product Support, Gulfstream

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: We will continue to grow and extend our MRO capabilities through investments in technicians, facilities, equipment and technology. We will also further expand our Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST) with additional technicians and specialized mobile repair vehicles in more locations around the world.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: I would like to see continued effort by the various government and regulatory entities to harmonize requirements for operators and maintenance providers. As an industry, we need to recognize that in order for this to be most effective, we can and must participate in this process, align our interests and support existing advocacy groups (such as the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and others).
We are also focused on providing a great working environment that allows us to continue to attract, develop, retain and reward highly skilled and motivated technicians (and other support personnel). We recognize that the marketplace for talent is highly competitive and worldwide demand is growing, but believe the stability and strength of our brand and scope of our operations can create meaningful career opportunities for both current and future employees.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: Specifically to MRO, we see significant opportunities and advantages in using this technology to quickly create specialized or unique tooling for spares fabrication. More widespread use in creating spares will emerge as the technology becomes more accepted and the certification criteria continue to evolve.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: We are already realizing benefits from the greater availability and access to aircraft maintenance and operational data.
First, our ability to listen and respond to an aircraft in real time started with PlaneConnect on the Gulfstream G450 and G550, then took a significant step forward when we introduced the Aircraft Health & Trend Monitoring System (AHTMS), also known as PlaneConnect HTM, on the Gulfstream G650 (and it will also be available upon entry into service for the G500 and G600). This system allows operators and key personnel to both receive and evaluate thousands of different aircraft parameters throughout all phases of flight.
Second, we have enhanced our Computerized Maintenance Program (CMP) with the addition of MyCMP Diagnostics (this is currently available for the G650ER, G650 and G550 and will be available on the G500 and G600 at launch). This online expert system consolidates and integrates Fault Isolation Manuals (FIMs) from different component manufacturers and captures real-world troubleshooting and removal/installation activity. This allows us to take the cumulative experience of our field reps, tech ops, technicians and operators to both share and improve troubleshooting guidance.
Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), or Flight Data Monitoring (FDM), to continue to enhance the overall safety of our entire industry. We strongly recommend and encourage all of our operators to incorporate data analysis, constructive dialogue and continuous improvement in their aircraft operation.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: We have been using virtual reality (VR) systems for several years in both the design and marketing of our aircraft. We’ve found that this technology works best in a controlled environment where the user benefits from a fully immersive experience. We’re also using VR in our training partnership with FlightSafety International to familiarize operators with the inner workings of aircraft and aircraft systems.
I’m probably even more excited about augmented reality (AR) systems and the ability to be aware of and engaged in real-world activities while leveraging a supplemental stream of real- time information and communication.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: We are fortunate to have close working relationships with a number of high schools, technical schools and colleges as well as local and state government officials. We’ve found them to be incredibly supportive of developing and deploying content to help prepare prospective employees for successful careers in aviation. We also place great emphasis on recruiting military personnel transitioning from active duty to civilian careers. Veterans comprise nearly 30 percent of our U.S. workforce.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: We recognize that we have an opportunity and obligation to continue to develop our workforce and we do this through a combination of classroom and in-situ training. We can provide classroom training through Gulfstream University and FlightSafety International and supplement with on-the-job (OJT) training events in our training labs. This approach allows new employees to
learn concepts and then apply those lessons in a safe and supervised environment.

Neil Book President and Chief Executive Officer, JSSI
Neil Book President and Chief Executive Officer, JSSI

Neil Book President and Chief Executive Officer, JSSI

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: Innovation is a priority at JSSI. In addition to our maintenance programs, which cover virtually every make and model of turboprop, helicopter, business jet and regional jet, we’ve created new and exciting business opportunities with JSSI Parts, Jet Engine Leasing, AMP and JSSI Advisory Services. These new products and services expand our footprint and allow us to offer more robust service levels to customers.
Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: At JSSI, we have customers around the world who depend on us for guidance and support 24/7, whether it is for an unexpected AOG situation or the need to plan for the next inspection or overhaul. Our focus is on building relationships with MRO facilities globally, who offer the highest quality service and most efficient turn times.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: This technology is certainly reshaping our world. Additive manufacturing will ultimately have a profound impact on the business aviation sector by bringing parts to market faster and less expensively. However, limitations remain with regulatory hurdles and the necessity for quality controls.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: JSSI collects data points on nearly 2,000 aircraft enrolled on JSSI programs. By leveraging all our data, we effectively forecast both the timing and cost of maintenance events with real precision. We have been able to streamline the process of developing maintenance programs for new platforms in a fraction of the time that it took just a few short years ago.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Real-world experience is important to JSSI and to our customers but that doesn’t mean we only look to engage with experienced industry professionals. We implemented an active internship program years ago with universities that have strong aviation and aerospace technology programs. In fact, many of these interns have become long-term employees with JSSI. I believe most of the schools we work with do a good job with their curriculum but as an industry we just need to get better at attracting more talented young people into these programs.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: Our employees are truly JSSI’s greatest asset. As a company, we work tirelessly to ensure we provide a workplace that fosters personal growth and encourages ongoing education. Additionally, to ensure our team remains at the very top of their game, we provide frequent in-depth technical training sessions for our worldwide customer service and technical teams from our dedicated training facility in McKinney, Texas.

Dr Johannes Bußmann, Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa Technik
Dr Johannes Bußmann, Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa Technik

Dr Johannes Bußmann, Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa Technik

EXTERNA

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: The ongoing dynamic development of the MRO market creates challenges but also offers opportunities.
Both possibilities mean a need for change for MRO suppliers, especially because they are closely connected to a growing cost pressure. Therefore we are permanently further improving our structure and existing portfolio, but we are also increasing our efforts to think out of the box and to go new ways. We are determining the potential of new ideas for the MRO business, initiating innovative projects, integrating new advanced technologies and revolutionizing work processes. Big data use and MRO 4.0 are major fields which we are focusing on.
Within these areas, for example we are looking at: additive manufacturing; digitization of MRO in general; aircraft health monitoring & predictive analytics; robotics & automation; next generation of aircraft and engine technology; artificial intelligence & machine learning; and drones.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: One large area which is still raising many questions is big data. The possibility of the new technologies to permanently supervise an aircraft, an engine or a component creates many possibilities to improve MRO business but keeps also potential risks. The question of data ownership hasn’t been solved, yet, for example. Who can do what with the collected data? What about data safety? How can we avoid that sensitive data will be used by the wrong people?
And how can a reliable and high quality of data analysis and implemented MRO actions be guaranteed and supervised? The pure raw data collection is just a starting point. The complex work comes with the transformation of these data into real MRO measures. And there are many other questions which still have to be solved in the future.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: We more and more use AM for tooling and prototyping. We also start using AM for repairing and replacing parts. Once OEMs will 3D-print parts in their serial production, we will be ready to repair those parts with AM in our facilities. We believe that AM will be competitive to conventional manufacturing for the aerospace industry within the next five years. Today we miss an industry format for the data triple, CAD-Model, material information and process parameters, which contains all information to manufacture a part additively being essential for industrialization of AM. Also experts combining aerospace knowledge with AM-knowledge are still rare.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Lufthansa Technik is harnessing its vast data pools with teams of highly experienced engineers and data scientists to identify a variety of measures improving our services and offer new services.
For this we partner with other companies. For instance FLYdocs is our strategic partner for records management software. Here we are developing new digital services that will be of high value for operators and lessors globally. Another service we are preparing to roll out is Condition Analytics. This new and highly intelligent platform allows airlines to predict precisely when components should be replaced and recommends measures to be taken to avoid failures before they actually happen.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: We are using VR in our VIP Business for designing special cabin layouts. One example is the Mercedes Benz Style VIP cabin. For training or operations purposes we don’t see effective use cases, yet. However, we have first implementation projects in place using augmented reality supporting our mechanics. This will be improve and expand for our Mobile Aircraft Repair Services.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: As a highly attractive employer brand, Lufthansa Technik continues to have the option of choosing from a large pool of applicants. We are therefore less exposed to the deficits of
school education than other companies. Moreover, we can purposefully mitigate any individual deficits that may exist through our comprehensive training programs and promote trainees accordingly.
In collaboration with the city of Hamburg, we are furthermore involved in the area of training preparation. As part of the vocational training preparation program, selected pupils with recognized deficits are prepared through internships and targeted support to ensure their subsequent suitability for commencing dual-study vocational training.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: Every year, Lufthansa Technik invests a high single-digit million figure in training and further education for its employees. For example, the ongoing development of aircraft technology regularly demands new type training. Moreover, lifelong learning has been a compulsory requirement in the area of aircraft maintenance for decades now. Comprehensive training based on the latest scientific findings is also a regular element of Human Factors Training, which aims to exclude the possibility of human error in aircraft maintenance to the greatest extent possible.

Leo Koppers Senior Vice President MRO Programs, MTU Maintenance
Leo Koppers Senior Vice President MRO Programs, MTU Maintenance

Leo Koppers Senior Vice President MRO Programs, MTU Maintenance

EXTERNA

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: The global MRO market is very healthy. Recent figures from Oliver Wyman foresee the global MRO market value increasing to over $100bn by 2026, up from $72.1bn predicted for 2017. At MTU Maintenance, we will grow with this market, continuing to serve customers with the customized engine solutions for which we are known. The CFM56, V2500, CF34 and GE90 engine families are extremely important to us in this regard. Over the next five years, many of these engines will start to mature. As they do so, MRO costs increase due to need for heavier shop visits and material replacement. Our mature engine’s program is perfectly suited to this market environment. In fact, with the market entry of A320Neos and 737 MAXs many engines will be retired, creating an increased supply of spare engines and used serviceable material. More material in the market means that the options within this program will be even more flexible and cost effective for our customers. We’re looking forward to supporting operators through this phase of the engine’s lifecycle – through for instance customized builds, green-time lease in or out and teardown and re-marketing of parts.
As far as next generation engines are concerned, we achieved MRO readiness for the PW1100G-JM over a year ago and are currently only one of two shops currently certified to carry out MRO work. Initial visits have been invaluable in improving repair processes in collaboration with the OEM. They also build on the range of engineering and in-depth expertise within MTU Aero Engines as a next-generation engine manufacturer.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: Generally speaking, there will be increased OEM coverage for next generation engines and independent providers will need to intensify their cooperation with OEMs in order to access to both engine MRO and potentially IP protected repair licenses, as well as MRO volume. MTU Maintenance has adapted its strategy to this market situation. Firstly, we benefit from MTU Aero Engine’s risk and revenue share partnerships with OEMs and are part of OEM aftermarket networks for the PW1100G-JM, GEnx and GP7200. Secondly we are increasing our strategic partnerships, for instance with Lufthansa Technik. The two companies also committed to a joint venture to serve the PW1100G-JM engine in 2016.
Additionally, MTU Maintenance is present in growing markets. It is no secret that the biggest growth sector for commercial MRO in the coming years will be Asia. According to Cavok figures for instance, shop visits in China will jump from 722 in 2017 to 2,230 in 2027. That’s a CAGR of 11.9 percent compared to the global average 3.2 percent. We are present here through MTU Maintenance Zhuhai, a joint venture with China Southern Airlines. Our partnerships with airlines help us understand and serve operator needs in the fastest way possible and generates base load volume. MTU Maintenance Zhuhai celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2016 and enjoys a stellar reputation in the region as China’s largest maintenance shop and market leader. In fact, this location completed its 1,000th CFM56 engine shop visit and its 2,000th shop visit overall in 2016.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: The MTU Maintenance industrial engineering department concentrates solely on improving our repairs, processes and technologies. They are currently exploring many technological advancements and potential future applications – for instance automation for grinding processes. This team is eagerly researching additive manufacturing technology, for instance in blade tip restoration.
On a broader company level, MTU Aero Engines already uses additive manufacturing to produce boroscope bosses for the PW1100G-JM that powers the A320neo. Another example is a new seal carrier that was designed for a demonstrator engine based on Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G. All of these have the potential to increase efficiency and therefore, reduce costs.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Big data is the phrase in everyone’s mouths in the MRO industry currently. Generally, Big Data helps better evaluate the behavior of certain fleets by being able to identify specific patterns which can only be detected due to the larger amount of data that are being gathered on newer engine types. The largest way that big data will affect the aftermarket is that it will take MRO management and condition analytics into the predictive sphere, meaning that not only can negative trends be caught early and rectified – as is the case today – but MRO providers will be able to analyze larger patterns, better predict performance in the field and, as a result, better plan shop visits, parts logistics and manage fleets. All of these factors will result in parts savings and shorter turn times. At MTU Maintenance, we work with data on engine parameters directly from operations – on a smaller and more specific basis and are also exploring the possibilities this opens up for predictive maintenance.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: MTU Maintenance collaborates with a number of research institutions, partners and companies to stay on the cutting edge of technology. We assess any potential trends and developments through our industrial engineering team, but are not currently using virtual reality training technology at this time.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: We have great school and university programs across the company and at all of our global locations. These programs help us create and maintain contact to young talent and include visits, work experience, research and informational materials as well as the opportunity to write bachelor or master theses within our company.
Generally speaking, we have quite specific needs regarding maintenance personnel. We look for people with the correct qualifications, or provide training for them to attain the appropriate certification – for instance we offer engine mechanic, surface coating and logistics training programs.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: We offer a number of various educational schemes and training within the company which mean that we are able to train staff to our high standards, but also that employees have access to any career development options they might be interested in. These can include masters programs, dual study programs or courses through our campus learning center. The latter provides access to an extensive range of courses in all areas of professional life at MTU – from leadership seminars and courses in project management to technical engine courses and additional and specific engine qualifications.

Joe Sylvestro Vice President, Aftermarket Operations, Pratt & Whitney
Joe Sylvestro Vice President, Aftermarket Operations, Pratt & Whitney

Joe Sylvestro Vice President, Aftermarket Operations, Pratt & Whitney

INTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: One area where we are growing our support of customers is with our new EngineWise services platform, announced in April. Pratt & Whitney’s EngineWise brand is all about sharing our engine expertise and fleet intelligence with Pratt & Whitney customers so they can optimize engine performance and keeps their operations running smoothly. Essentially, EngineWise better represents what we offer, and how we’re evolving to improve the predictability, reliability and health of our customers’ fleets.
Another big focus for us is building our GTF MRO network to support the growing number of GTF engines entering service. Now the network includes some of the industry’s top MRO companies to provide the highest quality maintenance support for GTF engines. Today, GTF MRO network members include Pratt & Whitney, MTU, JAEC and Lufthansa Technik. But over time, as the volume of overhauls increases, the network is expected to expand to include airlines and other MRO shops.
Big data has also been a large focus for us for many years. We’re using state-of-the art data analytics and real-time intelligence to proactively monitor the health of our engines and predict and prevent engine disruptions before they occur.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? Is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: With 10,500 engines in service across 400 operators, flying in 120 countries all over the world, having a successful international MRO business is very important to Pratt & Whitney. To support our global customers and engine fleets, we have 17 high-tech, high-volume Pratt & Whitney facilities, as well as a network of top MRO collaborators and suppliers, to provide the best service possible for our customers. Pratt & Whitney is in the process of re-tooling the service centers where necessary to ensure readiness for the new product lines. Working closely with operators, sharing intelligence and developing the best solutions together with operators is what our new EngineWise service brand platform is all about.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: Pratt & Whitney has used additive manufacturing for decades with rapid prototyping of plastics to enhance manufacturing and speed production – from design, to prototyping, to finished product. Over the last 10 years, we have transitioned to powder bed technologies for metals and have used additive manufacturing to accelerate the engine development process and are manufacturing flight parts for Pratt & Whitney engines using this technology.  
We are encouraged by additive manufacturing technologies and its many benefits. It enables new manufacturing in terms of design, speed, flexibility and affordability, making it complimentary to conventional methods. We are pursuing additive manufacturing production of components with a positive business case.
We fully expect the use of additive manufacturing to continue to grow. It is an important next step for companies to pursue and compete globally.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: For decades, Pratt & Whitney has been investing in data analytics to proactively monitor the health of engines on-wing, predict future maintenance visits and prevent engine disruptions before they occur.
In order to provide operators with differentiated engine services and support while improving overall engine performance, Pratt & Whitney’s deeper push into analytics has focused on a three pillar framework focused on:
– customer: how we optimize the customer experience and enhanced service value,
– predictive: integrating our expertise and technologies to develop & evolve our end-to-end predictive capabilities, and;
– connectivity: driving improved enterprise performance, capability and responsiveness through cradle-to-grave connectivity.
Through data analytics, we can create customized, intelligent workscopes, provide early warning detection focused on preventative maintenance and improve visibility into the overall health of the fleet. No two operators are the same – operators have different aircraft/engines, geographic routes, operational needs and environmental conditions. Collecting this fleet data enables us to maximize the customer’s specific engine performance and engine time on-wing, while maintaining predictable MRO spend.
Additionally, we have not only invested in robust technology platforms, we’ve also put emphasis on hiring the right people for our team to ensure we can provide the best possible outcomes for our customers. We are collaborating with subject matter experts cross-functionally within Pratt & Whitney and externally.
Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: Pratt & Whitney is currently investing in virtual reality tools, as an example, to enhance our customer training technologies. In fact, the Pratt & Whitney Customer Training in East Hartford, Conn., in conjunction with the United Technologies Research Center, is using virtual reality technology in its training programs so participants can virtually walk inside our GTF engine to examine parts and view a running engine in motion.
These tools not only support immersion training, but through virtual reality, we are able to provide a more comprehensive, effective customer training experience overall. The participant can see, for example, how an engine’s particular valve works and visualize how air flow moves through the engine to cool components.
The technology is being introduced into the classroom at the Customer Training Center on a piloted basis to gain additional feedback from students on how to build new curriculum around it. We are working to implement a virtual reality component that supplements the training we currently have in place.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: Pratt & Whitney has several skills development programs in place with community colleges and technical schools throughout the U.S. Because we anticipate the need to hire approximately 25,000 employees worldwide over the next 10 years to meet customer commitments and accommodate retirements, normal attrition, and business growth, training programs are incredibly important and will help support our company’s growth.
As an example, in our Aftermarket business, we announced an expanded relationship with Columbus Technical College with a dedicated training facility to provide new and existing employees at our Columbus, Georgia facility with robust training programs. These programs are focused on aerospace mechanics and advanced manufacturing technologies, crucial skills that will help our company move forward.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: At United Technologies Corporation, lifelong learning is the cornerstone of our culture. The world is constantly changing, and it is critical to learn and evolve to meet those challenges and remain competitive. As a company, UTC’s future success is dependent on the development and advancement of all of our employees – and the Employee Scholar Program is key to unlocking that.
The program was created to encourage and promote the education and development of our employees. Not just so they could develop skills necessary for their current jobs, but also for the jobs of tomorrow. The Employee Scholar Program is one of the most comprehensive company-sponsored employee education programs in the world. Since 1996, more than 38,500 degrees have been earned by employees in more than 60 countries.
Employees are empowered to expand their knowledge in their current field, or learn new skills for a different career path. In a globally competitive world, we have to make sure our employees are as well-trained and educated as possible. We can’t do that if we don’t’ provide our employees the tools and resources to get that education or develop those skills.

Tom Palmer Director of Services, Rolls-Royce
Tom Palmer Director of Services, Rolls-Royce

Tom Palmer Director of Services, Rolls-Royce

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: We face a challenge – how do we continue to raise standards for customers while managing a growing, diverse, fleet? It is clear that important new solutions are emerging which combine advanced technology with our own engine knowledge and expertise.
The game-changer in technology terms is the incredible promise held by digital analytics, creating an IntelligentEngine that is both connected, contextualised and cognitive and interacts with vast set of data from a number of providers. Related to it is a physical and digital support infrastructure that is focused on service delivery.
Today we at Rolls-Royce can feel we have already taken the power of digital a long way with engine health monitoring systems that analyze billions of data points every flight. But in fact that services portfolio addresses just 4 percent of an operator’s direct operating costs on a typical flight. When we fully deploy digital capability, we can see ways to extend our services so
that we can support operators with an additional 65 percent of their cost.
It involves the deployment of knowledge more widely and more collaboratively – to understand fuel usage, aircraft routes and flight paths, air traffic control and the weather right through to managing an operator’s engine inventory and helping them plan that inventory right through to the point of engine disposal, either to another operator or to retirement.

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Most airlines can see that the digital revolution gives them enormous opportunities, improving connectivity, responsiveness and performance and they know it can also reduce infrastructure costs. But they want support – from a partner that has deep industry knowledge and is committed to using data intelligently to really affect their day to day operations.
Our strategy is to work collaboratively to combine our own knowledge as an OEM with others who are the best in their field. We have already announced a digital collaboration with Microsoft, experts in data management, and Singapore Airlines, leaders in service innovation.
We have been pioneers in the use of EHM to support our CareServices such as TotalCare, and by continuing to collaborate and innovate with the best in the industry we will continue to be the services pioneer of the future.

Kriya Shortt Senior Vice President, Customer Service, Textron Aviation
Kriya Shortt Senior Vice President, Customer Service, Textron Aviation

Kriya Shortt Senior Vice President, Customer Service, Textron Aviation

EXTERNAL

Q: What are the main areas of opportunity within MRO that your company will expand into or develop further over the next five years?
A: At Textron Aviation, we remain focused on being flexible in how we support our customers, and we continue to collaborate with our customers on solutions that best fit their needs. In order to remain agile to the needs of our customers, we are working to identify and strengthen our core processes to maximize our service offerings and drive efficiencies. We are also streamlining component repair and overhaul capabilities to provide cost-effective options to part replacement.

Q: What is your main concern regarding the direction and development of the international MRO business? is there any particular issue that needs to be addressed?
A: Over the last several years, we have invested significantly within Europe and today operate six factory-direct service centers and six line maintenance stations strategically positioned throughout the region. We also have established a centralized parts distribution center serving our European customer base, as well as a fleet of rapid response aircraft able to transport parts and technicians to customers in the event of an AOG.
With changing regulations impacting how our customers maintain their aircraft, we are focused on remaining agile by offering services to support them. For example, as new EASA regulations have emerged around Part NCC and CAMO management, we have developed programs make compliance simple for our customers.

Q: How quickly is additive manufacturing growing in importance? What are its limitations?
A: Additive manufacturing is quickly growing in importance due to the speed, efficiency and weight reduction it brings to the manufacturing process. Its place in the aircraft manufacturing is largely dependent upon FAA and other regulatory agency approvals.

INTERNAL

Q: The use of big data is beginning to transform the MRO business. What is your organization’s strategy regarding its implementation and the effect it will have on your business?
A: Textron Aviation’s service organization uses data in a variety of ways. Historical data allows our service centers to forecast maintenance durations and be better prepared for issues that may arise during standard inspections. By leveraging historical data from Maintenance Transaction Reports (MTRs) and Maintenance Task Findings, maintenance intervals within the aircraft’s maintenance schedule can be extended, bundled or eliminated altogether. Data thresholds are very important for determining the life expectancy of aircraft parts and dictating the maintenance cycle of those parts needed to maximize useful life.
We also use aircraft diagnostic systems to capture faults in real time, which is critical to understanding general aircraft operational and reliability trends. For unscheduled maintenance events, Textron Aviation uses its expanded satellite-based diagnostics systems to gather aircraft diagnostics and provide troubleshooting techniques to pinpoint issues, discover operational trends, and determine component reliability performance.

Q: Is your organization already or looking to invest in virtual reality technology for training or as part of operations activities?
A: Textron Aviation has investigated a number of virtual reality innovations related to structural repairs, aircraft design, troubleshooting, and technical publications. For example, we use virtual reality to determine whether new aircraft designs allow for proper access for maintenance personnel to perform tasks or remove parts – well before the first aircraft is built. We also are now starting to integrate virtual reality into our technical manuals, providing technicians with 3D views of assemblies that can be expanded for ease of operation. These features in-work will give maintenance personnel the opportunity to plan jobs and recognize which parts of the aircraft will be affected by each task.

TRAINING / EDUCATION

Q: Are prospective new employees who are fresh out of education suitably qualified in the areas that you require? If not, how could educational establishments improve or update their courses and qualifications?
A: We have developed relationships with the best schools in the industry and have worked closely with those schools on preparing students to enter the workforce. New employees joining Textron Aviation have endless opportunities available to them throughout the organization. With our focus on developing employees for a robust career with the company, it is increasingly important for prospective employees to have strong written and oral communication skills to effectively communicate with leaders and customers.

Q: What is your company’s strategy for the ongoing education and development of existing employees?
A: Textron Aviation provides a broad platform of training opportunities. From technical training to leadership training, we are keenly focused on developing a growth path for employees that could extend throughout the business. As part of the broader Textron organization, employees also benefit from additional resources and expertise unavailable at other companies. We work very closely with our sister company, TRU Simulation + Training, on maintenance training to ensure our technicians are equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to maintain our aircraft.