Play Chooses OEM Component Support

The agreement between the two parties was signed this week.
Credit: OEM Services

Icelandic start-up Play has selected OEM Services to provide component support for its Airbus A321neo fleet.

The airline, which is aiming to fill a gap vacated by the collapse of Iceland’s Wow Air, now operates three A321neos and plans to grow to six before summer next year and 15 by 2025.

This week the airline signed letters of intent for the lease of two A320neos for delivery in early 2022, and for three A320neos and one A321neo scheduled to enter the fleet in 2023.

Its current three A321neos are leased from Aercap.

OEM Services is an aftermarket joint venture of four big component manufacturers – Safran Liebherr, Thales and Diehl –  which will provide Play flight-hour-based component repair support, inventory availability and engineering and logistics services.

“Being leading industry experts the company will without a doubt be a key element in our operations and provide the best quality and technical standards,” said Play’s chief executive, Birgir Jónsson. 

By signing on with the manufacturers, the start-up is signaling that it wants no distractions from its core airline business plan, which will see it add North America services next year, and is likely willing to pay a premium to achieve this.

Given Play’s focus on leasing new-technology aircraft, such an approach may prove its value when it comes to lease return – which occurs in 2031 for its first three aircraft – and provide more confidence to lessors uncertain about a new airline stepping into the shoes of a failed compatriot.

Investors have already shown strong support, mind, with Play’s July IPO finishing eight times oversubscribed.

Whether other start-ups launched during the pandemic take similar approach remains to be seen, but if they do then one significant impact of the crisis could be component OEMs moving closer to engine manufacturers in terms of aftermarket share.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber is a UK-based aviation journalist and editor of the Engine Yearbook. He contributes regular features, news and opinion pieces about the…