For years outsourcing has been a huge trend in the military, in nations including the USA and the UK, with manufacturers and other providers using their expertise and commercial acumen to provide a more cost-efficient service to the armed forces. This has been the case in the MRO sector, where the enormous cost and complexity of managing a maintenance and upgrade regime as well as the associated supply chain for a large fleet has been acknowledged to be better carried out by the commercial sector.
In this week's Flight International (18-24 May), Stephen Trimble has a fascinating insight into the row over who controls the multi-billion dollar maintenance budget for the US Air Force's Boeing C-17s: industry or the air force. The USAF effectively wants to fire Boeing as the main provider in 2012 after a 12-year run and the defence contractor, understandably, is not happy.
We also have the inside story on the A320 upgrade and another detailed piece on a row...this time over how to reconcile confidential reporting of air safety incidents with a political and legal system in many countries that wants individuals to "blame" for accidents.