KLM is exploring various ways for airlines and MROs to work together to make processes more cost efficient, says Pieter Elbers, the airline’s COO.

Elbers tells MRO Europe attendees that the carrier would like to position the KLM Engineering & Maintenance business to align with the direction of airline traffic growth—to the east, and to emerging regions.

The company already has a 26% stake in SkyTeam alliance partner Kenya Airways and it is developing relationships with other alliance partners, such as China Southern. Air France and KLM have had a strong partnership with Delta for years.

In the same way that airlines have linked frequent flyer and marketing programs, Elbers sees similar opportunities on the maintenance and engineering side. “We have developed MRO centers of excellence with Air France Industries,” he says, and the next step would involve forging maintenance agreements with other alliance partners. Elbers points to aircraft on the ground (AOG) or parts pooling agreements as potential areas of cooperation, but he says talks with other carriers are in “very early stages.”

“The airline side has made bridges, and now we’re taking concrete steps to advance MRO cooperation,” Elbers says.