Infrastructure & Training Market Intelligence

What Makes a Good MRO?

by Global Sky Team

What Makes a Good MRO?

Whether it’s a fixed-wing or prop, a light, midsize or ultra-long-range jet, sooner or later there comes a time where every business aircraft will need the care of an experienced maintenance crew. But with so many options out there, which one is best suited for a company’s needs? Asian Sky Media set out to find out what makes a good MRO.

When talking about aviation, MRO is a term that comes up often. Standing for Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul, the label is widely used to describe several aircraft maintenance activities. These generally include but are not limited to any specific repairs, services, or inspections of an aircraft to ensure its safety and airworthiness. This is especially important for business aircraft, as engines, systems, and other parts age as well as wear and tear over time. Thus, having regular check-ups with an MRO can help reduce the chances of any unexpected failures.

With aircraft heavily depending on MROs to keep them in tip-top shape, it stands to reason that picking the right MRO provider is also an equally important task. So what factors should be considered when deciding what MRO facility to use?

Capabilities:

Unsurprisingly, the capabilities of an MRO facility remain one of the most important factors when operators are thinking of choosing an MRO. MJets’ CEO Natthapatr Sibunruang agrees, stating, “I think, first of all, the quality of the service and also the capability with proper personnel training is the most important.”

The quality of the service and also the capability with proper personnel training is the most important thing.

Natthapatr Sibunruang, CEO of MJets

For Paul Desgrosseilliers, General Manager of ExecuJet Haite Aviation, when it comes to capabilities he says to focus more on what can be done in-house; “An MRO might say they have interior repair capabilities, while that’s not necessarily having a full shop.” He goes on to highlight that MROs may say they can do a certain service, when in fact they actually outsource the maintenance part to someone else. “I can take a battery out and ship it to the shop in Beijing and put it back in,” Paul elaborates. “But that’s different than having my in-house battery shop with battery approvals.”

According to Paul, the capabilities of an MRO need to be explicitly clear, “So they [MROs] don’t say, ‘I worked on 20 different aircraft’, when in fact they only worked on a Global and Citation.”

MROs may say they can perform a certain service, when in fact they actually outsource the maintenance part to someone else.

Paul Desgrosseilliers, General Manager of ExecuJet Haite Aviation

Metrojet’s CEO Gary Dolski says that it is important to have personnel trained properly so they are “good and current” assuring up-to-date services. “It’s one thing to say I can do these ten different kinds of planes in these ten different registries, but if you’re not seeing this type of plane for four years it doesn’t really matter, does it?”

In addition, Hongkong Jet’s Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Romand Xu, further notes that a wide range of capabilities is needed to cover different authorities and types of aircraft such as MROs who have been authorized by OEMs. For example, Jet Aviation, can perform an Aircraft Circuit Breaker Maintenance (CB), which is extremely difficult to implement without authorization.

Richard Wolfskeil, Director of Maintenance at Aviation Concepts Technical Services Inc. (ACTSI), also agrees that capability of an MRO remains a major factor. According to him, when an MRO progresses tooling, they progress their experience level and the jobs they can do. He cites Gulfstream as a good example – not only are they reliable, its services are of high quality and its engineers have advanced professional maintenance skills. “They [Gulfstream] have the engineering support there,” Richard clarifies. In addition, surprise maintenance is another factor when it comes to MRO capabilities – when something suddenly breaks and needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible, not many MROs are capable of handling that, especially with a high quality of craftsmanship. “So now you just narrowed your whole work scope as to where you’re going to go,” Richard says. He further adds that aside from knowing the exact capabilities of an MRO facility, it is also important to know who are the people in charge of running it, and what kind of reputation the provider has. In Richard’s eyes, “A lot of that word of mouth, as you know, goes a long way in aviation.”

It is also important to know who are the people in charge of running it, and what kind of reputation the provider has.

Richard Wolfskeil, Director of Maintenance at Aviation Concepts Technical Services Inc. (ACTSI)

Customer Service

For other operators, Asian Sky Media found that they prioritized customer service instead. “It’s important for me running my business to give feedback all the time on customer service,” Paul mentions. “You can have the best engineers in the world. But if you don’t react to the customers, if you’re not quick with customer reaction, return to service, listen to the customers and meet their requirements, the best engineering in the world doesn’t make up for those shortfalls.” When it comes to asking for feedback, Paul asks questions such as “What are we doing right?” and “What are we doing wrong?” to compare responses.

Sarith Vaikuntan, General Manager at Metrojet Engineering Clark, agrees. To him, the best way to determine a good MRO is its customer satisfaction. “So the way I would do it is there’s a score from one to five with five being the highest,” he explains. “Anything that is below a three, I will try to personally call the customer and get their feedback.” Sarith believes that as customers who come to the facility pay good money to for their servicing, meeting their expectations is the yardstick for any professional MRO. As he repeatedly emphasizes, “the amazing customer experience remains the gold standard.”

The amazing customer experience remains the gold standard.

Sarith Vaikuntan, General Manager of Metrojet Engineering Clark

Maintenance Periods

The maintenance period of an MRO refers to the period an MRO is working on an aircraft – up until its completion. As such, the amount of time taken during maintenance can not only affect costs but also schedules and the reputation of an MRO. As Gary says, “If I’m the customer, what do I want out of an MRO? I want to get my plane in on time. I want to get it out on time.” This is why he believes that scheduling is so important. This is also affected by geographic regions – as Gary puts it, why should an operator based in the Philippines fly back to the US instead of doing maintenance in Asia? Moreover, Gary wants to be transparent. “They [customers] want to know how it [maintenance] is progressing. So I want to minimize my surprises and give them a nice, clean, understandable invoice that in the end is fair.” He continues, “It doesn’t have to be the lowest, but it has to be fair and explainable.And if you do that most customers will walk away reasonably pleased to come back again.”

Qiu Dong, Vice President of Maintenance at Amber Aviation, believes that the maintenance period and costs are highly positively correlated. For example, he cites the Gulfstream G450’s emergency rail as usually having a corrosion issue. As he explains, despite Beijing’s Gulfstream MRO facility being closer, their efficiency is lowered if they cannot completely remove the corrosion, as the MRO needs to spend time sending the maintenance results back to headquarters. Compared to Savannah, which is more efficient and has an overall shorter maintenance period. Therefore, despite being farther, their shorter maintenance period would mean fewer costs in the long run.

The maintenance period and costs are highly positively correlated.

Qiu Dong, Vice President of Maintenance at Amber Aviation

Richard has a similar view. As he points out, “If an MRO only has one or two people, and you’re going in for a big job, you’re going to be having an extended maintenance visit.” Regarding Bombardier, Richard says, “they’re going to be a lot quicker because they have all the trained personnel.” This is especially true when it comes to dealing with larger planes like an Airbus. Again, in his point of view, “you’re not going to go to a small place that can’t handle that kind of airplane.” With Richard’s previous experience of changing MRO facilities to HAECO, he justifies it reiterating, “they have a lot of experience, they’ve got engineering, they’ve got the manpower, so our visit can go a lot smoother because of that.”

Tags

MRO

Market Intelligence + See All