Air France and Delta Air Lines are planning to set up maintenance centres of excellence on both sides of the Atlantic to attract more third-party maintenance work and maximise the benefits of their alliance.

Air France Industries (AFI) and Delta TechOps, owned by the two founder members of SkyTeam, are of a similar size, with turnovers last year of $1.8 billion and $2 billion, respectively. While AFI gains one-third of its income from third-party work, TechOps generates 90% of its income from Delta's 600-strong fleet. The latter hopes to benefit from a joint marketing strategy to increase its third-party workshare.

Basil Papayoti, Delta TechOps director sales and marketing, says the two companies together cover most commercial types. The two maintenance divisions are trying to synchronise specialities, to reduce overlap and trim total costs.

AFI is focusing on Airbus aircraft and Boeing 747/777 types, while TechOps will specialise in Boeing 737/757/767 aircraft.

"We've decided not to invest in 777 maintenance," says Papayoti. He says Delta 777s will be sent to AFI at Paris Orly. Delta will continue to overhaul Pratt & Whitney PW4000s for AFI, however. AFI president Alain Bassil says AFI aims to be the leader in the Airbus maintenance market. "We look after more than 230 A320 family aircraft and 100 A330/A340s," he says.

Source: Flight International