October 21, 2013
Credit: Southwest Airlines
Eirtech Aviation’s time-saving fix for a global Boeing 737 mandate is winning the Shannon, Ireland-based maintenance provider a who’s who of 737 operators as clients, led by two of North America’s most visible Boeing narrowbody airline customers.
Both Southwest Airlines and WestJet have contracted Eirtech for the work, which is to install new cabin pressurization warning lights on 737NGs. The upgrade, mandated by the FAA, Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency requires modifying two forward instrument panels, two overhead panels and running new wire bundles. The retrofit must be completed by March 2016,
Boeing issued its recommended fix in a January 2010 service bulletin. A 737 operator approached Eirtech to see if the company could develop a simpler kit, says Eirtech Vice President-Sales Niall Kearns. Eirtech’s engineering creating a modification that shaves about 50% of the time and cost off Boeing’s option, Kearns estimates.
“We took a different approach in designing our solution, which results in an innovative wire routing solution which can be easily and quickly installed, without disturbing any other systems on the aircraft,” says Kearns. This minimizes post-installation systems testing, saving significant time on each aircraft.
The Eirtech kit also eliminates the need to send cockpit panels to a third-party contractor for some of the work, Kearns explains. “Our solution [allows] the airline to complete this task on site, saving time and money.”
The MRO provider offers engineering support along with the kits, sending technicians to customers to supervise and verify the installations.
Eirtech’s kit received FAA alternative means of compliance approval in December, and the company received supplemental type certificate approvals in July. It announced a deal with Southwest a short time later, and revealed the WestJet contract earlier this month. Kearns says more customers are onboard, but these airline so far have declined to be identified.
Founded in 1999 under the Lufthansa Technik umbrella, Eirtech has specialized in painting and interior refurbishment. In 2009, a management buyout set the MRO provider on its own course. Since then, Eirtech has added hangars in Dublin and Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, and an engineering office in Dubai.
In September, the MRO announced its fifth location and fourth dedicated painting facility, taking over a former Alitalia hangar at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. The company painted more than 200 aircraft in 2012.