June 19, 2013
Spairliners has leveraged the experience it gained from its initial Airbus A380 component support capabilities—from parts pooling to logistics—to launch similar services for Embraer E-Jet-family aircraft. The company, a joint venture between AFI-KLM and Lufthansa Technik, will announce at the Paris air show that it commenced its E-Jet component service in late April and has $80 million worth of E-Jet line replaceable unit inventory—from landing gear to engine parts.
“The market asked Spairliners to offer an alternative to Embraer,” because it wanted component repairs and competition for Embraer, says Oliver Mazzucchelli, Spairliner’s CEO managing director. The timing of this launch coincides with maintenance requirements coming due for the first Embraer E-170s introduced in 2004. Aviation Week fleet data shows that there are 318 E-170/175 and 566 E-190/195 aircraft in service.
Mazzucchelli expects that the addition of E-Jet component capabilities should double Spairliner’s revenue.
Spairliners coordinates repair management, but outsources the actual hands-on work to AFI-KLM and Lufthansa Technik—or to other sources, depending on the type of repair and customer. “Our goal is to have the highest rate of repairs to help flow and keep prices low,” he adds.
Because of the greater age of the E-Jet family, 45% of components have available repair schemes, compared to only 20% for the younger A380, says Mazzucchelli.
Bringing two formidable MRO competitors together to develop an A380 component support model was “a smart idea, but it needed to be proven,” because the two airline MROs are very different, he notes. Mazzuccheli says Spairliners takes the best of both and has built its business model around that. “We are now accelerating what we learned from the A380 and are applying that to E-Jets,” says Mazzucchelli.
A major strength that AFI-KLM and Lufthansa Technik bring to the E-Jet program is the fact that both have subsidiaries in the U.S. that develop and perform repairs. Given that the U.S. is the largest market for E-Jets, this should help decrease turnaround times and logistics costs for E-Jet components.
Spairliners currently supports 100 E-Jet aircraft, but Mazzucchelli expects that number to climb to 180 by the end of 2015. The company has secured 11 customers so far, including Air France’s Hop!, Alitalia, Lufthansa Cityline, Air Dolomiti, Augsburg Airways, Jetairfly, Estonian Air, Kenya Airways, National Air Service and California Pacific.
But do not expect Spairliners to add another airframe component program to its capabilities list in the near future. Mazzucchelli says “it is quite a challenge” to do that, and “we’re still a small company—but we’re small enough to be best-in-class.”