Fast 5: Spanish MRO Targets C Check Capability
Rafael Almagro, CEO of Madrid-based Jet Aircraft Services (JAS), speaks to James Pozzi about how it is targeting expanded maintenance check capabilities as well as growth in its aircraft storage operation.
Where are you seeing opportunity and challenges as the market gradually recovers post-crisis?
We see that airline traffic is recovering and carriers are progressively increasing flights and aircraft on services. For this reason, line maintenance services are closer to 2019 levels and stored aircraft are being returned to operation. At the same time, because of the crisis we foresee a significant increase in the number of aircraft being recycled affecting the older and less efficient fleets.
As the recovery continues, we feel JAS is in a very strong position and we want to take advantage of the huge experience accumulated. One of our challenges is to make our Ciudad Real Airport location near Madrid, along with the overall company, better known as an efficient (economically vs. maintenance experienced services) base for programmed tasks, storage and dismantling solutions in Europe.
Are you looking at adding any new services in 2022?
We want to reach C checks and interiors modification capability in order to offer a comprehensive product for transitions and storage programs. For this reason, we are planning to build a new hangar and increase the area for aircraft recycling, including warehouses for parts storage services. Overall, since we have been providing maintenance services for more than 21 years, our objective is to give a complete, full support service to our customers at every stage of their aircraft lifecycle, offering storage programs, maintenance services and recycling solutions.
Line maintenance is a key part of the JAS business. How is the network in Spain and North America currently operating? Is it nearing full capacity?
We had a very good year in line maintenance, as we have a good portfolio of cargo customers that were less affected by traffic reduction. That helped us in the worst moment of the crisis in our line services. In the last quarter we reached almost 2019 levels of production. Now, the market is being repositioned after the COVID-19 crisis. Some small providers disappear, and also big airlines are reducing or even selling their line maintenance services. We have the capability to increase our resources to cope with production increases and new customers. For this reason, we are increasing our presence in Spain and Morocco while also looking at investment opportunities in the Americas and Africa.
How is demand for part-out services? Do you foresee a retirement wave forthcoming or will it be a more modest outlook?
We foresee a high demand on part-out. There could be an extensive widebody fleet renewal that would draw to retirement of older, less efficient aircraft. At the same time, once aircraft are back to operation, there is a high appetite for parts and that helps interest to retire and recycle planes. We are ready to support this demand for aircraft part-out.
Have you looked to upgrade any technologies over the past two years at the company?
It is absolutely a priority. We are adding a new IT system to manage all our production activities and we are strongly investing in tooling and equipment to have the most modern storage and recycling center in our base at Ciudad Real Central.