Virgin Atlantic Pens Interiors Maintenance Deal

Due to a wave of cancellations of scheduled shop visits over the past 12 months, this has naturally impacted on some airframe heavy maintenance checks in 2021. In Europe, this part of the market will generate around $1.5 billion in MRO spend. C checks will account for 58% of this with the remainder made up of more intensive heavy D checks.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has entered into a three-year agreement for UK-based Aeropeople Engineering Services to manage cabin interior maintenance, repair and refurbishment across the airline’s fleet.

Under the terms of the deal announced Thursday (Jan. 7), Aeropeople, which specializes in line maintenance services as well as recruitment and training, will set up a line maintenance operation of around 80 people based at London Heathrow Airport, which is home to one of Virgin Atlantic’s main bases. 

There, it will enlist interiors service provider Cabinair, part of the SA Group, to provide an end to end service for the airline across its Boeing 787, Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft. Aeropeople will support the work from the Virgin Atlantic hangar at the UK’s biggest airport, where it will also look to establish a deeper scheduled maintenance and refurbishment operation.

With recruitment underway with preparation and training taking place this week, Aeropeople says it expects work to begin on the first aircraft from next week, subject to any unplanned disruption emanating from Covid-19.

The value of the contract is undisclosed but is described as a “multi-million pound” agreement by Aeropeople, which states it is its single largest one to date. Ian Peart, Aeropeople’s managing director, says the aim of the agreement is to minimize aircraft downtime whilst driving efficiency and value across the airline’s supply chain.

Aeropeople, headquartered at London Stansted Airport, is a subsidiary of Marshall Aerospace Group and has had an association with Virgin Atlantic for around 15 years. 

In addition to its Heathrow site, where it performs line maintenance on its fleet, Virgin Atlantic also conducts line maintenance at London Gatwick Airport and at its Manchester base as well as overseas in Johannesburg, Barbados and at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport.

While having a steady in-house MRO offering, the airline uses third parties for specific types of work. These include all its fleet components being serviced by AFI KLM E&M, niche repairs such as thrust reverser maintenance on its A330s carried out by Safran and Delta TechOps overseeing engine maintenance on its Trent 1000 powering the 787.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's European MRO editor, 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.