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14 November 2017
Lufthansa Technik is expanding its capacity with a new hangar, office and multifunctional building at Sofia Airport (SOF) in Bulgaria, becoming the largest base maintenance facility in Eastern Europe. LHTBulgarian subsidiary, Lufthansa Technik Sofia, will be also the largest base maintenance site of Lufthansa Technik in Europe. The total investment in the project amounts to approximately EUR 35 million, invested together with the joint venture (JV) partner, Bulgarian Airways Group. The funds were used for the construction of the new six-storey multifunctional building, combining hangar, offices and workshop areas. The new expansion will lead to an increase in maintenance lines and further growth of the central service departments which serve the worldwide Lufthansa Technik network of base maintenance facilities from Sofia. That means a 60% capacity increase (or 1 million man-hours) in total per year, as well as a 30% increase in the number of employees in Sofia to 1,300 people. The new facility will be able to accommodate and service eight narrowbody aircraft simultaneously for base maintenance, plus one aircraft in a nose-in position for services such as cabin modifications. Two of the bays have full paint capability.

On 2 November 2017, Magnetic MRO opened its new purpose-built paint hangar at Tallinn Airport (TLL) in Estonia. Magnetic said that the new facility was already booked for the next six months by both existing and new customers. The total area of the paint hangar covers 2,853 m² and enables Magnetic MRO to provide commercial and VIP standard painting services for a wide range of aircraft types, including Boeing 737max and the Airbus 320neo family, as well as all other narrowbody aircraft. With this new hangar, Magnetic MRO has not only increased the total dedicated painting area to 4,354 m², but has also gained new competencies in terms of customised features applied to the new facility. The building is equipped with a custom docking system which can be tailored to serve different types of aircraft, making the facility one-of-a-kind in the whole region. It is also designed to accommodate base maintenance visits, and engineered to support value added qualities, such as safety, airflow, contamination control, lighting and energy efficiency. The whole hangar is furnished with a modern, eco-friendly temperature and humidity-controlled ventilation system, and a modern LED light system and easily cleanable white walls help to resist contamination build-up and create a brighter painting environment for finest quality.
“With this dedicated paint hangar, we will be able to keep up with the increasing demand for our bundled MRO services.” said Risto Mäeots, Magnetic MRO CEO, “Expanding through production capacity and service portfolio is an organic result of our strategy execution. With the infrastructure in place, we are confident that our ever-growing presence will continue to deliver outstanding results. We are delighted to pioneer such a one-of-a-kind milestone in the region, and we look forward to keep expanding and introducing new ones”.

StandardAero Aviation Holdings Inc. and Airbus SE have finalised the acquisition by StandardAero of Vector Aerospace Holding SAS from Airbus. Vector is a global aerospace MRO company, providing responsive, quality support for turbine engines, components, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. A truly international company, it employs approximately 2,200 people in 22 locations across Canada, the US, the UK, France, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, and Singapore. The newly combined company, which will maintain the name of StandardAero, has more than 6,000 employees in 42 locations across five continents, with annual revenues of approximately USD 3 billion. “We are excited to join forces with the Vector team in becoming one of the largest MRO companies in the world,” said Russell Ford, CEO of StandardAero. “Our combined organisations are better positioned to provide the industry with more global services, expanded MRO capabilities and operational benefits to deliver faster, higher quality solutions to our combined customers worldwide. We look forward to joining together with the Vector leadership and employees as we begin to integrate our two organizations.”

DC Aviation Al-Futtaim (DCAF), a joint venture (JV) between Dubai-based Al-Futtaim group and Germany’s DC Aviation, has confirmed the opening of its second hangar at Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). DC AviationThe 7,500-m² building will more than double DCAF’s hangar capacity, bringing its total land-side plot area to 24,000 m² and apron area to 13,000 m². The new hangar will enable DCAF to add two single-aisle aircraft maintenance bays and provide enough space for an additional workshop and equipment storage. It will also significantly increase the number and size of aircraft that can be accommodated at the facility. The new hangar will also see, DCAF further expand its maintenance services. Holger Ostheimer, Managing Director of DC Aviation Al-Futtaim, said: “Since commencing operations in November 2013, we have seen our business grow steadily year-on-year. With the new hangar, we will be able to meet the growing demand for business and private jet operations in the Aviation District at Dubai South for years to come.
Meanwhile, work is well underway to complete the installation of Esavian Type 126 sliding hangar doors on the new DC Aviation hangar at DWC. This follows the successful installation and operation of similar Esavian doors on the first DC Aviation hangar. The new doors are a set of multi-directional Esavian Type 126 sliding hangar doors, 55,350 mm wide by 13,500 mm high, with a centrally-located tailgate that increases the clear opening height to some 16,700 mm. The door is configured as six individually operated door leaves on three tracks – offering maximum flexibility. Additionally, all door leaves can travel from Hangar 2 to Hangar 1, allowing a clear opening for a wide variety of business jets to use the facility. The doors are clad with a full-height Rodeca® translucent panel system and include three personnel doors with no thresholds, to comply with the NFPA 101 fire safety code. There are audio and visual alarms to warn that leaves are in motion and proximity sensors allow accurate movement to the closed position. So-called ‘magic eye’ sensors prevent door leaves colliding.

HAECO Americas in Greensboro, NC, announced in a joint statement with International Aerospace Coatings (IAC) that the companies have signed a three-year agreement for IAC to sub-lease Hangar 9 of HAECO Americas’ Lake City, FL, facility. Jim Sokol, President of MRO Services, HAECO Americas, said: “IAC provides a complementary service, which now allows us to offer full painting capability within our Lake City facility. IAC is recognised as a world-class leader in aircraft finishing; the cooperation helps expand our customers’ options when undergoing maintenance or livery needs.” The agreement also includes the option for further contractual extensions. Both HAECO Americas and IAC are working together closely to support each other’s business and customer base. Niall Cunningham, CEO of IA,C said: “As IAC continues to grow, we are seeking out additional capacity across all of our major markets. HAECO Americas’ Lake City facility provides an excellent East Coast solution for our customers and we’re pleased to be working alongside HAECO Americas in this manner.”

German maintenance specialist Nayak and logistics group Zeitfracht are jointly to acquire Air Berlin’s technical operations. Air Berlin said that its creditors had accepted a proposal for the sale, and that a contract would be signed. No financial details have been disclosed. Under the deal, the buyers will take on “at least” 300 of Air Berlin Technik’s approximately 850 employees, according to the insolvent carrier. Air Berlin Technik has facilities in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Munich. For the remaining staff members, the parties have established a transfer entity in order to “cushion social hardship”, Air Berlin said. The transfer entity for Air Berlin Technik staff will be financed without state or third-party support as a result of the “liquidity situation in this process”, the carrier added. Meanwhile, Berlin’s regional government has signalled its support for a fund to cover the airline’s ground personnel. Zeitfracht will acquire Air Berlin’s cargo operations under a previously disclosed deal.

On 26 October 2017, AeroCentury Corp. signed a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger for the acquisition of JetFleet Holding Corp. (JHC). JHC is the parent of JetFleet Management Corp. (JMC), which has managed the Company’s operations and aircraft portfolio since AeroCentury’s founding in 1997. The current management agreement between JMC and JHC was entered into in 2015 and has a term ending in 2025. Under the agreement, JHC shareholders are to receive USD 3.5 million in cash and 129,286 shares of the company’s common stock, subject to various adjustments at closing, in return for all the outstanding capital stock of JHC. The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur in Q1 2018. Until the closing, AeroCentury and JHC will operate as separate businesses. Once the acquisition is completed, JHC will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AeroCentury. Michael Magnusson, CEO of AeroCentury, stated: “We believe this acquisition marks a significant milestone in AeroCentury’s growth. Importantly, elimination of the third-party management structure will improve visibility into our performance, and that is expected to enhance AeroCentury’s attractiveness to capital sources needed to fuel its future growth.”

Airbus has approved China Airlines as a supplier of MRO and aircraft conversion services.
This approval is a new step in the wider ambition of China Airlines to develop its MRO centre for heavy maintenance capabilities and aircraft modification. China Airlines’ ambitions for the MRO market was highlighted during the 2017 Paris Air Show, when the company became part of Airbus MRO Alliance. It also follows the announcement of a joint development project on the Internet of Things (IOT) applied to MRO services together with Airbus. “China Airlines is pleased to have been selected by Airbus,” said Houng Wang, SVP China Airlines Engineering Maintenance. “Together with the opening of our new hangar in 2018, we are confident that our growing capability will offer state-of-the-art and comprehensive MRO solutions to support Airbus aircraft.”
China Airlines Engineering Maintenance Organization was founded in 1959, together with the establishment of the airline. It is claimed to be one of the most advanced maintenance plants in Asia and offers a comprehensive range of maintenance services for operators of Boeing as well as Airbus fleets. In addition, it has engine maintenance capabilities for PW4000, CFM56-7B, CFM56-5C4, CF6-80C2 and CF6-80E1 engines, as well as component maintenance capabilities for electrical equipment, instruments, pneudraulics systems, and wheel and brake systems, which have all been certified by FAA, EASA, CAAC and CAA Taiwan.

Orlando, FL-headquartered Tavistock Development Company has announced that BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support has selected Lake Nona Town Centre in Orlando for the company’s new headquarters. BBA AviationPCL Construction plans to break ground on the new office building in autumn 2017 with a projected completion date in late 2018. The new BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support headquarters will consist of 65,000 ft² within the newest six-storey, class-A multi-tenant office building at Lake Nona Town Centre. BBA Aviation/Signature The facility will be LEED-designed and will implement the latest innovations in climate control, natural light, collaborative spaces, ergonomic work stations, and outdoor spaces. Occupancy is expected during Q1 2019. Designed by award-winning architecture firm m+a architects, with interior architecture of the BBA/Signature Flight Support headquarters by Little, the new headquarter offices will have a prime location within Tavistock’s master-designed Lake Nona, which remains the region’s fastest-growing community.

MRO Contracts
ST Engineering has announced that its aerospace arm, Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace), secured new contracts worth about SGD 530 million in Q3 2017 for services ranging from heavy airframe and engine maintenance, component repair and overhaul to cabin retrofit. The heavy airframe maintenance contracts include long-term agreements to support a range of aircraft from the MD-11, Boeing 777, B757, and Airbus A300 for freight operators. Other MRO contracts won in Q3 include agreements to service CFM56-7B engines for European and Asian airlines, as well as agreements to overhaul the landing gears of commercial and military aircraft. 

Sabena technics and Air Transat have signed a general-terms agreement for ‘C’-checks on two of the Canadian carrier’s Airbus A330 aircraft. The first aircraft is already in Sabena technic’s facility in Bordeaux, France, and the second was expected there later in November 2017.

Pratt & Whitney has announced that the Pratt & Whitney Turkish Engine Centre has signed one of its largest maintenance contracts in recent history. Turkish Airlines has selected the engine centre, a joint venture (JV) between Pratt & Whitney and Turkish Technic, for up to a five-year EngineWise™ service agreement covering all of the airline’s V2500® and CFM56 -7b engine overhaul requirements.

Vector Aerospace has signed a new seven-year exclusive engine service agreement with Precision Air Services to support the Tanzanian airline’s fleet of ATR regional turboprop aircraft. The signing of this new agreement demonstrates Precision Air Services’ confidence in the support received from Vector’s facility in Gonesse, France, over the past three years.

Alaska Airlines and CFM International have signed a nine-year rate-per-flight-hour (RPFH) maintenance agreement to support 128 CFM56-7B engines that power the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The agreement, which includes spare engines, is valued at nearly USD 500 million at list price. After an extensive market Request for Proposal (RFP), CFM was selected to be Alaska’s CFM56-7B maintenance provider.

AFI KLM E&M and Indian low cost carrier IndiGo have signed a component support contract covering 30 ATR 72-600 aircraft, delivery of which is to begin in the near future. The array of services to be delivered by AFI KLM E&M includes repairs, dedicated pool access, provision of a main base kit (MBK), and logistics support.

AFI KLM E&M and Sichuan Airlines have signed an agreement to organise component support for the Chinese carrier’s fleet of Airbus A350s - which will ultimately number four aircraft. With this contract, Sichuan Airlines becomes the first Chinese airline to opt for AFI KLM E&M’s A350 component maintenance solutions. The contract covers a broad spectrum of services, from repairs to organising training sessions, plus part availability services, the deployment of a main base kit and a forward component pool located in Chengdu.

AJW Group has announced the expansion of its power-by-the-hour (PBH) contract with Canadian carrier Air Transat. AJW Group originally signed a long-term PBH contract with Air Transat in 2013 to provide support for the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft, and the expanded contract will now support their increased Airbus A330 fleet, which has grown by 33% since the start of the contract.

Singapore Airlines has signed a 12-year TrueChoice(TM) flight hour agreement with GE Aviation for the MRO of its 45 GE9X engines that will power its Boeing 777-9 aircraft. The services agreement is valued at more than USD 1.7 billion.

Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL) has signed a line maintenance agreement with China Airlines. The flag carrier is a new customer for MAEL who will carry out line maintenance work when China Airlines begins its London Gatwick service in December 2017. With four flights a week in the winter followed by five flights or more next summer, the line maintenance work will be carried out on the airline’s Airbus A350 aircraft.

Lufthansa Technik AG has been awarded a comprehensive component supply contract for Philippine carrier Pan Pacific Airlines’ fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft. The six-year total component support (TCS®) took effect on 1 November 2017. The support contract comprises the repair and overhaul of components as well as pooling and spare part leasing at the airline’s home base.