How to See Through the Popular Bizjet MRO Myths

Although Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities are essential partners to aircraft owners and operators, there can be misperceptions that impact the relationship for both aircraft owners and MRO shops. Gerrard Cowan learns more...

Gerrard Cowan  |  25th March 2024
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    Gerrard Cowan
    Gerrard Cowan

    Gerrard Cowan is a freelance journalist who focuses on aerospace and finance. In addition to his regular...

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    How to see through the popular business MRO myths


    According to André Ebach, Managing Director of Germany-based maintenance and design specialist Aero-Dienst, there are two persistent myths regarding MRO shops today: both of which emanate from the misperception that one shop is the same as the next.

    Since they are all Part 145 maintenance companies who are approved by the authorities, he illustrates, there can be the wrong belief that the quality of work must therefore be equal. And this can lead to the next myth that the cheapest maintenance quote must always the best.

    “These myths have always been around in the industry, and they continue today,” he says.

    That is not helped by the lack of experience or transparency those outside of the maintenance companies have, rendering many people unaware of the details of what a maintenance company needs to do, and which details are important for it to deliver the promised service, price and quality.

    Graham Davidson-Guild is Head of Maintenance and operations at UK-based Aerocare Aviation Services. He reckons the aviation industry has seen a surge in MRO service providers vying for projects, some of whom make bold claims about their capabilities.

    “The reality on the ground is not always aligned with these assurances,” he says, noting that Aerocare seeks to embrace transparency and accountability in operations to set itself apart from its rivals, some of whom “tend to overpromise and underdeliver”.

    One of the key challenges facing aircraft owners and operators is the discrepancy between promises made during the bidding process and the execution of the MRO work, Davidson-Guild warns.

    “To win contracts, some MRO centers commit to tasks they’re not fully equipped to handle, leading to disruptions, extended downtime, and unforeseen financial implications for the aircraft owner.”

    Lowest Cost Does Not Equal Best Jet MRO Quote

    Driven by financial commitments and gains, aircraft owners and operators are often swayed by the lowest-cost MRO option. But “the allure of cost savings can prove to be a double-edged sword”, Davidson-Guild argues.

    “Choosing the cheapest MRO shop might result in longer-than-agreed downtime, causing a ripple effect of spiralling costs and operational inefficiencies.” Ebach agrees, adding that some owners “are lured into [accepting a] maintenance [quote] by favourable offers”. However, making such decisions based on price, as opposed to quality, carries significant risks he highlights.

    Instead, owners and operators should seek to have an active exchange with MRO shops they’re considering using, asking questions and seeking explanations to gain better transparency.

    “Only in a personal exchange, and on the basis of trust, can such myths be clarified and dispelled,” Ebach argues. “After all, it is demonstrably not the case that the cheapest offer at the end of the maintenance event will remain the cheapest.

    “MRO shops that have been in the aviation industry for decades and actively seek to keep their employees up to date through training, and who are transparent in their communication tend to be the best contact points for aircraft owners to challenge such myths.”

    Ultimately, both aircraft owners and MRO shops should be interested in building a long-term business relationship, meaning that quality should be the top priority – and quality costs money, says Ebach.

    “But above all, it depends on the personnel who work on the aircraft,” he adds. “The customer receives the best maintenance from the MRO shop that invests in further training to build up know-how and skillsets.” 

    Big Promises Won’t Always Deliver Big Jet MRO Results

    Overpromising and under-delivering could lead to delayed return to service, meaning loss of revenue for the unwary aircraft owner/operator, lost business due to missed deadlines, or an inability to meet ongoing commitments, adds Davidson-Guild.

    “Aircraft maintenance is a dynamic and intricate process that, despite meticulous planning, may not always unfold as expected,” he adds. It’s therefore crucial to recognize that MROs operate within a framework of commitment to completing tasks on time and within budget constraints.

    However, the nature of aviation maintenance, which is subject to factors like supply chain disruptions or regulatory changes, can contribute to project overruns and increased costs. And this can lead to another misconception; that MROs are intentionally seeking to maximize their own profits.

    “Aerocare emphasizes that these situations are the exception, rather than the rule,” Davidson-Guild says. “In most cases, MROs strive to deliver efficient and cost-effective solutions, actively working to overcome challenges and unforeseen obstacles.”

    To overcome myths around the industry, MRO shops must ensure transparency in their quotes and in the performance of maintenance, Ebach highlights.

    “Open and honest communication is crucial. Both parties – the customer and MRO shop – should be invested in maintaining a long-term business relationship, rather than thinking from event-to-event.”

    Davidson-Guild agrees, adding that MRO shops should work closely with aircraft owners and operators and provide daily updates of progress, costs and any emergent required work that will need additional man hours or parts.

    “If additional time is required, this downtime can be agreed up front with the customer to alleviate any misconceptions or potential misunderstandings,” he adds.

    Such a transparent approach, along with sticking to the budget and returning the aircraft to service as agreed, should lead to ongoing work with customers, improving trust on both sides.

    Communication Provides MRO Visibility

    Ultimately, it is vital that aircraft owners understand the full picture of where they are taking their aircraft for routine or overhaul, scheduled maintenance and inspections, modifications, and interior or exterior refurbishments.

    All MRO shops are governed by certain authorities and must therefore be approved on the aircraft types they work on, using technical data provided by aircraft OEMs.

    Beyond that, it will require both parties to spend time clarifying and discussing quoted prices and promised timeframes and services to clarify how those will be achieved. When it comes to cutting through popular MRO myths, strong communication will definitely be your friend!

    More information from:
    Aerocare Aviation Services: https://aerocareas.com
    Aero-Dienst: www.aero-dienst.com

    Read more advice on MRO for Business Aviation at AvBuyer!

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