Atitech seeks partnerships to grow its MRO business

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Italian maintenance provider Atitech is co-operating with Portugal's TAP Maintenance & Engineering as the Naples-based company seeks to add engine and component support capabilities to its airframe support-centred business.

The two firms inked an agreement in Lisbon last month to market their respective capabilities together.

Atitech is the former engineering division of Alitalia, which included engine and component repair shops in the past. When the Italian carrier was restructured, however, only the airframe maintenance division was privatised as a standalone business.

Its capabilities revolved mainly around Alitalia's Airbus A320-family and Boeing MD-80 fleets, the remaining parts of which it still supports. Third-party custom, however, became more difficult, as the company could no longer offer a full range of services - including engine and component repair - says business development director Antonio Di Lieto.

Atitech has also gained new approvals to support current and old-generation Boeing 737 aircraft.

The co-operation with TAP will ideally complement both partners' capabilities, according to Di Lieto, because the Portuguese company has an engine overhaul shop for CFM International CFM56-3, -5A/B/C and -7B engines.

TAP, on the other hand, has outsourced some of its parent airline's Airbus A330 and A340 heavy airframe work to its Brazilian subsidiary not only because of lower costs in Latin America, but also to free up much-needed hangar capacity at its base in Lisbon, where space is limited, Jorge Sobral, TAP's board member responsible for the M&E unit, told Flightglobal last year.

Di Lieto says that the co-operation with TAP is only a first step in forming similar partnerships to be able to compete on the market with full-service MRO providers such as Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance and Lufthansa Technik. He adds that he is looking for component support partners and is eyeing Mubadala MRO network partner SR Technics as a potential candidate.

Di Lieto also reports that Atitech will expand its airframe services to widebody aircraft and begin the first 767 check in late September or October.

Existing Embraer ERJ-145 capabilities will be expanded to the more modern Embraer 170/190 series.