Boeing has confirmed the selection of UK maintenance company Monarch Aircraft Engineering as a new partner for its GoldCare programme.

In a statement today Boeing says the Monarch Airlines sister company has joined its GoldCare team and will provide scheduled light and heavy maintenance for Boeing 787s.

ATI and Flightglobal reported last month that Monarch Aircraft Engineering had been selected by Boeing to be the airframe maintenance provider for the 13 787s covered under the recently announced TUI Travel GoldCare deal. While today's announcement does not confirm that Monarch has been contracted to specifically work on TUI's 787s, a Boeing spokesman tells ATI that Monarch will likely be responsible for maintaining TUI's UK-based 787s. He says the TUI 787s that will be based in continental Europe will not be maintained by Monarch, and will likely be assigned to a "geographical suitable" maintenance company that has not yet formally joined the GoldCare programme.

UK-based Thompsonfly is one of four TUI group airlines slated to operate 787s. Boeing has not yet provided a breakdown on how many of TUI's 787s, which are to be delivered from early 2012, will be operated by Thompsonfly. The other TUI subsidiaries slated to receive 787s plus the full GoldCare maintenance, engineering and material management package are Sweden-based Tuifly Nordic, Belgium-based Jetairfly and Dutch carrier Arkefly.

The Boeing spokesman says TUI has elected to include all A, B, C and D checks in its GoldCare package but exclude line maintenance. Monarch Aircraft Engineering is expected to be responsible for all these scheduled maintenance checks for the Thompsonfly-operated aircraft. The first and only D check covered under the GoldCare contract is expected 12 years after each aircraft is delivered, which is also the duration of the contract with TUI.

Monarch Aircraft Engineering, which has bases at London Luton and Manchester, will also maintain the six 787s ordered in 2006 by Monarch Airlines. These 787s are not covered under GoldCare. So far TUI is the only airline to have signed up for the GoldCare maintenance programme, which was first launched in 2006.

ATI and Flightglobal initially reported that the selection of Monarch Aircraft Engineering for the TUI aircraft was made at TUI's request. The Boeing spokesman says while TUI had some input in the process, the selection of Monarch was Boeing's decision. He acknowledges Monarch and TUI have an existing relationship, which led to an expectation from the two companies that Monarch would join the GoldCare programme but he stresses that this relationship did not drive the selection process.

Monarch Aircraft Engineering for now is the only MRO partner in the GoldCare programme. Boeing in July 2006 announced the selection of SR Technics as its first MRO partner and at the time was planning to soon announce other MRO partners in Asia and North America. ATI reported last month that SR Technics is no longer on Boeing's list of GoldCare partners and had, at least temporarily, been dropped from the GoldCare team.

The Boeing spokesman confirms SR Technics is currently not a GoldCare partner but claims the company was not dropped by Boeing from the GoldCare team. Instead he says the GoldCare special provisions agreement signed by Boeing and SR Technics in 2006 was allowed to expire early this year after the two companies came to an impasse in negotiating revisions to the deal.

As originally reported, Boeing and SR Technics remain open to the possibility of SR Technics re-joining the GoldCare team.

Currently the GoldCare team consists of several partners including GE Aviation, Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell, Moog, Panasonic and Rockwell Collins. Monarch Aircraft Engineering for now is the only airframe maintenance partner although Boeing continues to discuss potential partnership deals with several other MRO providers. Boeing plans to eventually establish a global network of MRO partners, which will give its GoldCare customers the flexibility of having its 787s maintained in several different locations.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news