The 2013 winners of Aviation Week's MRO of the Year awards exemplify excellence in merging organizations, creating innovative high-tech repairs, developing electronic flight bags with cockpit installation processes, increasing efficiencies, and thinking creatively to innovate over decades. Our 2012 honorees—US Airways, Sikorsky Aerospace Services, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. and Leading Edge Aviation Services—provide examples of how creativity and a passion for solving problems can go a long way. Aviation Week will present awards to the five winners at a ceremony at Aviation Week's MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta on April 16.

Airline MRO:

United Airlines

Under Joe Ferreira's leadership, the line maintenance organizations from Continental and United Airlines were combined into one planning department, which has decreased aircraft ground time and has kept 700-plus aircraft flying around the world—with high-reliability percentages—on a daily basis. Behind the scenes, this also means a smooth system for daily checks, ETOPS checks, supply chain movement and tools. In addition, the combined organization is working on combining processes and two separate technology systems for aircraft recordkeeping, tooling, aircraft supply chain and workload distribution across the worldwide maintenance division—all while working on separate contracts.

Independent MRO:

MTU Maintenance


Within two years, MTU Maintenance, on its own, managed to launch a GE90 maintenance program. Last year was pivotal, as it went from offering on-wing services in 2011 to adding full capability up to the piece-parts level, with full cleaning inspections. This capital-intensive project required $50 million for tooling, test equipment and a spare engine. With this program, MTU hopes to develop high-tech designated engineering representative repairs for the GE90, backed up by its test cell.

MRO Supplier:

Fokker Services

Fokker Services developed the iPad European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Class 2 Type B electronic flight bag for pilots, as well as developing installation provisions for its power supply. The Class 2 status and solution means the iPad is a permanent installation and is certified for all critical flight phases. Fokker Services was the first to develop and market this solution. It already has been implemented on the Boeing 737 and 777; Airbus A320, A330 and A340; Bombardier Challenger 604, Dash 8 Classic and Q400; and Fokker 50, 70 and 100.

Military MRO:

Warner Robins

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex has implemented critical chain project management and theory of constraints methodologies since 2005. It has achieved improved efficiencies since, but in 2012, improvements climbed to a 98.8% on-time delivery rate from a 47% rate in 2011. Typically, military MRO organizations try to deal with missed delivery deadlines by pushing even more aircraft into production, but Warner Robins tried the opposite last year—by reducing the work in production to get more done. The MRO focused on the C-130 and F-15 squadrons, the Commodities Maintenance Group, and the test program squadron in the software maintenance group. As a result, it returned 25% more aircraft to the Air Force with the same resources.

Lifetime Achievement Award:

George Ebbs

Educator, visionary and thought leader George Ebbs has made a big impact on the aftermarket industry—from launching The Canaan Group, a consultancy that identified aviation maintenance as a core segment—to being a catalyst for this MRO event.

In addition to many achievements at the Canaan Group, Ebbs served as president and CEO of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he extended educational offerings outside the traditional format, as well as expanding the university's global footprint. His vision and impact across the global aviation aftermarket helped promulgate the acronym MRO.