“We have been increasing our [Boeing] 767 work, more recently with winglet installation on new-production 767-300s out of the factory for Grupo Latam,” says Jacome. “We did six in 2012, and completed another in February.” He also reports that Mexicana may be adding heavy maintenance on the A340, should a deal with a South American operator materialize. The carrier currently sends the airplanes to Asia for heavy checks, he notes.
The narrowbody market—primarily comprising the A320, 737 and 757—remains Mexicana's mainstay business. Most of the MRO's airline customers are based in Latin America, with leasing companies accounting for the majority of North American clients, and European operators are the primary source of its 757 and 767 work. North America, Jacome says, is considered the target for expansion of its customer base. “We do expect to close some deals on heavy checks for U.S. and Canadian customers this year,” he says.
Mexican MRO Services operates 10 maintenance lines, eight of which are at Mexico City, and plans are in the works to increase capabilities within the existing infrastructure.
“We are aware of [MRO] capacity growth in Central and South America, and the fact that North American operators are looking at those regions for additional capacity for heavy checks,” Jacome notes. “Cost control is one reason, and the other is the closure of Aveos. Canadian operators are looking at U.S. facilities for MRO, because of free trade agreements and the proximity of the U.S. facilities to Canada. That, in turn, is constraining U.S. capacity, causing some U.S. operators to look at Central and South America. Narrowbody aircraft operators will drive most of this business,” he says.
Delta TechOps and Aeromexico are in the very early stages of constructing a facility at Queretaro, Mexico. The new hangar will be able to accommodate seven narrowbodies simultaneously. The airlines have not released the facility's exact size or opening date.
MIT's Swelbar notes that Latin America's narrowbody heavy maintenance facilities are evolving into a great specialty for the region, but cautions that the region's advantages may be short-lived. “The gap between their labor rates and [the U.S.'s] will decrease over time,” he says. “In fact, this follows a trend for [overall] MRO costs to increase worldwide.”
MRO Ownership Changes
|Aeroman||Aero Technical Support & Services Holdings, which is liquidating Aveos, purchased an 80% stake in 2007; Salvadoran investors hold the other 20%|
|Aviation Technical Services||Taurus Aerospaces Group, owned by Macquarie Group, purchased from Goodrich in 2007|
|Aveos Fleet Performance||Bankrupt in 2012, parent Aero Technical Support & Services is liquidating it; AJ Walter acquired component business|
|Flightstar Aircraft Services||Moelis Capital Partners purchased majority in 2011|
|Mexicana MRO Services||Mexicana Group, purchased by Med Atlantica in 2012|
|StandardAero||Dubai Aerospace Enterprises purchased from Carlyle Group in 2007|
|Timco Aviation Services||TAS Management purchased the company in 2007|