Fokker Aircraft Services specialises in airframe

Ian Sheppard/londonDATA TABLES/Air Transport Intelligence

Europe's maintenance industry has been faced with growing international competition and the need for consolidation, and has continued to take on board the new Joint Aviation Requirements, bringing it more into line with the USA.

Many fixed-base operators and airline maintenance departments have attained JAR 145 approval, while a draft JAR 66, covering the licensing of personnel, was released in May.

The European industry has forged a market niche in freighter conversions of smaller widebodies, and now leads the USA. BAe Aviation Services rolled out its first Airbus A300B4 in January, marking its place as a competitor for Airbus partner Daimler-Benz Aerospace. Conversions of other Airbus aircraft are being developed. The Lockheed TriStar conversions undertaken by Marshall Aerospace of the UK remain popular, while Aernovali, part of Alenia of Italy, has maintained its position as the European centre for McDonnell Douglas DC-10 conversions, and has converted one new-build Boeing MD-11 into a freighter.

EASTern promise

The US Federal Aviation Administration said in a 1994 report that the CIS maintenance and overhaul sector needed to come into line with international standards, with certification of both organisations and personnel. Joint ventures between Western and CIS organisations are leading the way - in December 1996, Bykovo Aviation Services Company (BASCO) in Moscow become the first "aviaremont" to be certificated by Russia's Federal Aviation Service and the new CIS Interstate Aviation Committee's Aviaregister. BASCO, which also has an operation in Shannon, Ireland, has set up other joint ventures in the CIS, including Remex, a carrier to which cash-strapped airlines can lease aircraft in exchange for work.

The challenge for the CIS sector is to support the Western engines and avionics being adopted for new variants such as the Antonov An-38 and Ilyushin Il-96M/T, which both had maiden flights this year, as well as the trickle of Airbus and Boeing aircraft into CIS countries.

Source: Flight International