MRO EUROPE: AFI moves A320 heavy maintenance to Morocco

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Air France Industries (AFI) plans to turn its Toulouse base into a specialist C-check facility for its parent's Airbus fleet as heavy airframe maintenance for A320s moves to Morocco.

Aerotechnic Industries (ATI), a 50:50 joint venture in Casablance between AFI and Royal Air Maroc for A320 MRO, has already been conducting a number of checks for Air France. But AFI's Toulouse base has thus far been the main location for airframe maintenance on the carrier's narrowbody fleet.

This work will be largely moved to Casablanca because AFI is not competitive for heavy airframe maintenance, says Frank Terner, president of AFI.

The vacated capacity in Toulouse is to be filled up with C-check work for Air France's Airbus narrow- and widebody fleet. The facility will not be cut back in size, says Terner, but become the group's specialist C-check site for Airbus models.

This is understood to cover Air France's A320, A330 and A340 aircraft, but not the A380s. Air France has a purpose-built hangar for the A380 at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

Terner has not revealed how much A320 heavy maintenance will be completed in Morocco. At a fleet size of around 140 aircraft, he says, "there is no way to move out everything at once and see what happens".

But he told Flightglobal in a recent interview that the balance between Toulouse and Morocco is changing toward the latter.

The move is part of Air France's cost-cutting and efficiency improvement programme Transform.