AJW Technique gains EASA approval

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AJ Walter Group's AJW Technique has received its Part 145 approved maintenance certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as it continues the process of ramping up its maintenance facility near Montreal-Trudeau airport.

In February, the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisation received Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) approved maintenance organisation status, which is also recognised by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The MRO is also in the initial stages of applying for the AS9110 quality approval.

This week, AJW Technique repaired its first component at the facility and is working on final preparations to start ramping up production, such as calibrating equipment. The maintenance centre is planning to have several specialty shops up and running within the next few months, including those with a focus on fuel, hydraulics, avionics and pneumatics. The facility also has a backshop with machining and paint capabilities.

The maintenance provider has scaled down the 22,000 ft2 (67,056 m2) facility that Aveos was using to 160,000ft2, but says it will not shed capabilities in the process. To do this, the maintenance centre has implemented initiatives to make the operation more lean, such as the "6s" organisational system, says Gavin Simmonds, the facility's general manager.

The carrier is in the process of refining its capability list, which will initially focus on components for aircraft such as the next-generation Boeing 737, 747, Airbus A320 and A340 models. Some of these core components include fuel control units and fuel boost pumps. AJW Technique is looking to base its offerings around specific component types rather than aircraft programmes, as many of the parts are common to more than one aircraft type.

"We are very interested in the engine accessory market, we're very interested in the avionics, we're very interested in starter-generators," said Simmonds.

AJ Walter acquired the assets of Aveos Fleet Performance's component maintenance facility in September after the MRO went bankrupt and shut its doors on 19 March.

Last week the carrier hired its first 24 maintenance technicians, which were all ex-Aveos employees, said Simmonds. The MRO plans to continue to hire technicians throughout the year, culminating in a planned workforce of about 100 people by the end of 2013. The MRO plans to grow its workforce by 250 people in the next three years. AJW Technique will support UK-based AJ Walter Aviation's 800 customers with repairs, in addition to complementing an existing repair network of original equipment manufacturers that its sister company already manages. The facility also plans to grow its third-party maintenance business and is engaged in serious talks with at least 12 airline and MRO customers for future work, with interest coming from South America, the Middle East, Russia and Australia, says the facility's general manger.

"We will support AJ Walter Aviation, but we're also an MRO shop in our own right," said Simmonds.

The component maintenance centre was one of three parts of Aveos' business that went up for sale after the business declared insolvency in March, including the engine and heavy maintenance businesses. Lockheed Martin Canada signed a purchase agreement for the nearby engine centre on 21 December, and the heavy maintenance business was split among five MROs and a liquidation firm for C$10.8 million ($10.5 million) last year.