STS Looks For Line Maintenance Uptick In Spring

The U.S.-based MRO is catering for all scenarios this winter with COVID-19 cases expected to spike but also the more positive development of a vaccine being close to availability.
Credit: STS Aviation Group

STS Aviation Group is now offering customers both new and old options to deal with COVID-19-driven uncertainties, according to company executive Bryan Shaw. He predicts STS’s line MRO business will see an uptick in spring of 2021.

First among new offers are fuel tank checks for grounded aircraft. These include microbiological contamination testing, sealant quality checks and verification, visual tank and fuel system inspections and positive pressure testing.

“Our fuel tank health checks are a fast and easy way for operators to ensure that there are no surprises waiting when they bring aircraft back online,” Shaw explains. “They can be completed in less than a day with the potential to cover multiple aircraft simultaneously.”

Fuel checks are available globally. Shaw says STS is seeing increased demand for the checks, particularly in Europe, where STS rapid deployment AOG service and mobile repair teams are also being requested more frequently.

“This has been mirrored in demand for aircraft interior services and cabin overhauls offered from our workshops in Shannon, Ireland,” Shaw says. STS is also getting more requests for MRO at its storage sites in Birmingham and Newquay Cornwall, in addition to its expansion of line maintenance sites across Europe.
Newquay and Birmingham are getting “double-digit” aircraft stored at both sites. Shaw says these counts have been increasing over the past couple of months. Stored jets are a mix of medium- to long-term storage, next-generation and legacy fleets, mainly Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

“It is likely a few will eventually be subject to tear down with items like seats being removed and re-used in the future,” Shaw notes. STS still has room and staff to accommodate more stored aircraft.

STS’s line maintenance business is still depressed at present, but Shaw sees “some light at the end of the tunnel.”  STS has opened a number of new line stations in the UK in the past six months, and it expects the uptick to start in spring of 2021. The MRO plans to grow its line maintenance presence in Europe. 

Likewise, STS’s modification market has also been soft, but Shaw expects this market to pick up significantly in 2021 with cabin reconfigurations and connectivity modifications.

Retaining jobs has been a priority at STS, though a small number of employees have been furloughed. Fortunately, “We have also secured a very large, multi-year contract in the UK in the past few months, which we will start to service before the end of the year and have already begun recruiting for this project,” Shaw adds.