Boeing has tweaked its GoldCare turnkey maintenance programme due to pressure from 787 customers who are delaying decisions about joining the scheme and want it broken into smaller modules to cut the cost.

GoldCare aims to copy engine manufacturers' power-by-the-hour commercial agreements to an airframe level, with Boeing acting as a single contact point, delivering material management, engineering and maintenance services.

Speaking at this year's MRO Europe event in Milan, Dan Da Silva, Boeing vice-president sales and marketing, says: "At first, we offered it [GoldCare] on a module or total maintenance basis, but the market told us they wanted us to break it down further as many airlines do not yet feel in a position to outsource all [787-related maintenance] activities."

He admits the recently announced extensive delays to the 787 programme may affect GoldCare uptake. "You know airlines, they don't have to make a decision until they absolutely have to," he says, adding that Boeing believes early operators may rely on their own maintenance resource at inception before turning to GoldCare at a later stage.

"We have however met with an incredibly positive response and are entering into price negotiations. That's where the rubber really hits the road, but the reality is that every dollar invested in inventory is a dollar that cannot be invested in the airline," says Da Silva.

Boeing has made three offers to date to 787 customers. UK travel group First Choice was the first operator to announce publicly its intention to become a GoldCare customer for the twinjet, in July. Da Silva says Boeing has since made a second European offer in addition to a material management solution to all five Chinese 787 operators, who will be operating a combined fleet of 60 aircraft.

"The reality is that we did not offer GoldCare until June and we've been very careful how we put it in the marketplace," says Da Silva, who added that as GoldCare is a global solution and therefore not dependent on fleet size, Boeing has talked to operators with as few as four 787s.

Of a new four-module structure, he says: "We have made tremendous progress in the last six months." He says the materials management module has proved to be the most popular with around three out of four 787 airlines expected to sign up to the supply chain integration service for spares, including repair and overhaul of components.

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