Etihad Airways Engineering and Lufthansa Technik have formed a tentative partnership – alongside engineering specialists EAD Aerospace and Envoy Aerospace – to establish common standards for and promote development of supplemental type certificates (STC) for aircraft modifications.

Dubbed the “Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance” (IAMA), the collaboration’s objective is to address “customer concerns with regard to documentation, data availability and a worldwide customer support network” for modifications based on third-party STCs, says LHT.

The MRO specialist says that it signed a memorandum of understanding with the three partners, and that the alliance will be open to aircraft and equipment manufacturers, airlines, lessors, and suppliers.

“IAMA aims to encourage aircraft owners and operators to modify and modernise their fleets through high quality equipment and rigorous inspections, irrespective of which IAMA members provide the engineering services,” LHT says.

In addition to agreeing to common standards for the “documentation and quality” of STCs, the partners want to establish an “open, secure documentation platform for airline customers and aircraft owners using STCs, and to inform the relevant public and expert communities about the advantages of STC-approved solutions”.

Etihad Airways Engineering vice-president Bernhard Randerath describes the initiative as a “positive step towards addressing the challenges that customers face with STC solutions today”.

Noting that the alliance is open to “all” modification providers, he says: “We believe that OEMs will also benefit from becoming members of IAMA.”

LHT’s head of base maintenance and aircraft modifications, Thomas Rueckert, states that the partnership will enable operators to “decide objectively and independently on the best possible modification solution for their fleet”.

The sales director of EAD Aerospace – a French-based engineering firm specialising in the development of avionics, interior and structural modification – Patrick Gindre believes that “aftermarket modifier ecosystem needed a ‘home’ to discuss our challenges, best practices and to improve our services”.

He says that IAMA’s objective is to “shape the future of the STC in the aviation world”.

The alliance plans a launch meeting for participants in spring 2019.

It comes two years after Etihad and Lufthansa outlined tentative plans for greater co-operation between the two groups, notably including in the MRO sector.