Easyjet’s Berlin Hangar Plans Highlight Inhouse Maintenance Building

Easyjet has operated in Berlin for 17 years and is investing in operations at the city's newly opened airport.
Credit: Easyjet

Having previously outlined intentions to build up its presence in Europe while insourcing some maintenance activities, Easyjet has set these plans into motion by announcing plans to build its first hangar outside of the UK in Berlin.

The British airline intends to begin construction of the facility in September 2021 and is targeting an early 2023 opening at Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport, which opened in October last year nearly nine years later than scheduled.

It cites a desire to better service its European fleet as a factor in further building its presence in Berlin. The airline states the building of the facility “will ensure smooth maintenance and servicing operations, including unscheduled work, for its European fleet, improving operational efficiency and saving maintenance costs in the long-term.” 

Last year, it opened its first non-UK line station in the German capital, where it has based aircraft for the past 17 years. Approximately €20 million (£17.2 million) will be spent on constructing the facility, a release by Berlin Brandenburg Airport states. Easyjet says the construction application documents have been submitted and are currently in the approval phase. 

In Berlin, the low-cost carrier will undertake light heavy maintenance checks in a 10,700 sq.ft space able to accommodate up to four Airbus A321 aircraft simultaneously. Easyjet operates an all-Airbus narrowbody fleet comprised of more than 300 aircraft.

Having been one of the airline pioneers of the maintenance outsourcing model, Easyjet has gradually insourced certain maintenance work over the past few years, including some line maintenance capabilities which typically involves lighter checks. It has continued to outsource heavy maintenance work to third-party specialists.

With much of its fleet grounded throughout 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis, the airline announced an annual loss of £1.41 billion ($1.92 billion)--the first in its 25-year history. The crisis led to some readjustments across the business, including the closure of three UK bases at London Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

The lion's share of its MRO work remains in the UK, with its domestic network including two base maintenance hangars at London Gatwick and London Luton airports, along with line stations at London Luton and Liverpool airports.

Aside from readying its post-COVID operation, Easyjet has been undertaking contingency plans following the UK’s exist from the European Union (EU) at the end of 2020. These moves have included registering some of its fleet outside of the UK under an Austrian Aircraft Operator Certificate, while making changes to its investor rules to comply with EU legislation.

It has also looked to partners on the maintenance side of the business. At the start of the year, Easyjet expanded its existing cooperation with AJW Group, which opened a new parts warehouse facility in Milan specifically to cater for the supply chain needs of the airline. 

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.