US majors vie with American to be Boeing's MRO partner

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are the latest US majors to reveal that they are bidding to become North America's sole provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to Boeing 787 customers that sign up for the manufacturer's GoldCare support programme.

Delta, which through its TechOps division maintains its own fleet and provides complete third-party maintenance for other airlines, confirms that it has bid on the GoldCare programme for the 787. Likewise, United confirms that it has bid, but declines to comment further.

American Airlines also recently disclosed it has submitted an all-encompassing "soup-to-nuts proposal" to Boeing that includes routine and heavy-check maintenance for the 787.

Flight International understands that these carriers represent the complete list of companies to have submitted formal bids to become Boeing's North America-based maintenance provider for GoldCare. American, Delta and United are not among the North American carriers - Air Canada, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines - to have ordered the 787.

American says that it will "not be making any aircraft orders until we feel we are consistently profitable", and insists that the bid to become Boeing's North American GoldCare MRO provider "is not specifically tied" to an order. Delta is also a potential 787 customer, with an order mooted for next year.

GoldCare is an all-inclusive package of maintenance and materials management for the 787, whereby Boeing leads a team of MRO and equipment supplier partners to guarantee customers' schedule dispatch reliability service levels.

SR Technics is Boeing's European maintenance provider for GoldCare, and Boeing says it is in the process of selecting MRO partners for Asia and North America, with several interested parties in both regions.

Although the airframer will not confirm the identity of the North American bidders, it says that a selection is expected this year, with the Asian provider also to be announced "in the coming months".

Source: Flight International