What about future developments?
We are working hard on new products like asset management. We are growing that activity and we think there is a real opportunity to leverage our big assets. In 2014, we will invest significant sums of money into setting up a new facility here in Paris for aerostructure activity. Our customers are very keen to be helped with day-to-day on-wing services, so we will also enhance our engine capability for on-wing services.
How is the business preparing for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350?
We have been present on the 787 from the beginning, when we signed a contract with LOT Polish Airlines. It was our first contract and won’t be the last.
Handling components on A350 engines is our goal. It is a bit too far away to say what the aircraft is looking like as far as the airframe is concerned, but we are working hard to offer our customers that capability.
We see a trend that new-technology airframes require less and less maintenance. Some years ago, and it’s still the case for 747s, for example, when you have facilities in Western Europe, or sometimes in the U.S., it is a good thing to fly the aircraft over to a lower-cost region for maintenance. But when the aircraft is less demanding in man-hours, you have to consider the tradeoff between fuel cost and man-hour rates. In the longer term, it may happen that the maintenance of the 787 and A380 will be regionalized. We’re thinking about that and we will see if there is interest from our customers for us to be present in the areas where they fly the aircraft.
The new aircraft capabilities come on top of already existing products that we have developed. We are a big provider on the A380 with our partner, Lufthansa Technik. We are becoming a big player on Embraer’s E-Jet family and ATRs, too. Our big seller is still the Boeing 777, while we are probably the leader in Airbus A330 component support. We will continue to develop capabilities on the GE90 and component repairs on the engine.
Are customers starting to bundle services more with new aircraft such as the A380 or 787?
We are very keen to have a global offer for airframes, components and engines, but we do not see customers bundling those services because the facilities and the know-how for each product are very different.