Regional Carriers Mixing Up MRO Models

By Carole Shifrin
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

When deciding whether to outsource maintenance on a new aircraft to its fleet, “Jazz evaluates its entire maintenance needs, based upon maintaining a competitive advantage against market rates,” Steer explains.

The carrier did sign up for Bombardier's Q400 Smart Parts program, which provides a carrier with access to a parts inventory. Steer says Jazz outsources all its engine overhauls as well as overhaul and repair of non-owned components that are covered under power-by-hour agreements where it pays for inventory access and repair.

Overall, Jazz has 1,165 maintenance and engineer professionals in its system, including the large bases and line bases in 10 locations across Canada.

In France, Air France Group's three regional carriers—Brit Air, Regional and Airlinair—were consolidated this spring into HOP!, with a diverse fleet of 101 Embraer, Bombardier and ATR aircraft. HOP! operates 530 daily flights to 136 destinations within France and to 15 European cities.

Besides their fleets and operations, a melding of maintenance organizations was required. Regional and Brit Air, the two larger carriers, have long been maintaining their own fleets at facilities in Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Morlaix and Lyon. For the time being, that will not change.

In contrast, Airlinair was outsourcing maintenance of its ATR fleet to European MROs. That work has been brought in-house, with the maintenance work on Airlinair's ATR fleet split between Regional and Brit Air facilities.

For line maintenance activities, the three airlines will share capacity across the existing network.

All three carriers were sending out maintenance work on engines, landing gear, auxiliary power units and components to MROs, officials say, and will continue to do so in the near term.

Each of the three carriers, of course, had its own European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)-approved Maintenance Part M program, and those have been retained. But joint project teams are working on establishing ways to enhance the overall organization's performance and reduce costs through synergies within the Part M program.

Although it is difficult to read the tea leaves regarding the future of American Eagle, American Airlines' regional airline affiliate, Eagle currently “does its own aircraft maintenance and always has,” an Eagle source says.