Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Chicago Now Home to Bombardier Parts
Bombardier Aerospace celebrated the inauguration of its new parts distribution warehouse, adjacent to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, on September 7. The manufacturrer now has three parts centers worldwide; a new facility recently opened in Frankfurt, Germany, and Bombardier's Montreal headquarters has long provided parts distribution. The Chicago warehouse consolidates Bombardier's existing U.S. parts facilities; by the end of the year, all parts from the Wichita, Kansas, and Detroit, Michigan, warehouses will be moved to Chicago.
The new 283,000 square foot facility holds millions of parts, representing about 120,000 unique part numbers from more than 1,000 vendors. To ensure quick customer response, Bombardier has teamed with Caterpillar Logistics Services to run its worldwide supply chain. Caterpillar Logistics runs the Chicago warehouse, but Bombardier "continues to have responsibility for customer service," said Desmond Bell, Bombardier's vice president parts logistics. "There's no change in who the customer calls, or in the customer-facing part of the business. We have the quality control responsibility, also."
The Chicago warehouse will employ 200 people by the time it's fully stocked. Forty people will work for Bombardier and the rest for Caterpillar Logistics.
Bombardier's part performance hasn't been the best, Bell admitted, "but we've made significant improvements in the last 12 months." Inventory accuracy wasn't what it needed to be, he added, and billing errors were a problem, but have since improved by 70 percent.
With the opening of the Chicago warehouse, AOG (aircraft on ground) response times have dropped to two hours from six hours, said Bell. The goal is one to two hours. AOG cycle times (door-to-door delivery times) are averaging less than 12 hours and recently as low as 10 hours in North America. The goal worldwide is to average less than 12 hours. Inventory accuracy has improved to 97 percent from 80 percent and off-the-shelf fill rates for business aircraft have reached 95 percent (up from 81 percent) and for regional aircraft 88 percent (up from 63 percent).
As the Montreal-Chicago-Frankfurt network continues to improve, Bombardier will open more parts facilities, including one in Dubai in the fourth quarter of 2005 and Sao Paolo, Brazil in 2006.
EADS Sogerma reorganizes
Following the sale by EADS North America of EADS Aeroframe Services to Linden Street Capital in late July, EADS Sogerma Services, based in Bordeaux, France, is undergoing a major reorganization. Citing high labor costs, CEO Michel Freuchet said that "conventional" airframe maintenance can hardly be profitable in Western countries. Freuchet thus reportedly decided to dispose of the Lake Charles, Louisiana-based subsidiary, EADS Aeroframe Services. The company prefers to offer "tailored" support to airlines. Freuchet is betting on cabin completion and conversion, notably for VIP aircraft. Sogerma's Toulouse location will thus complement Airbus sales of VIP-type airplanes. For its aerostructures business, the EADS Sogerma firm is seeking alliances. In addition, Freuchet still hopes to return to the French military maintenance, repair, and overhaul market, after having lost the C-130 service contract three years ago. Military maintenance know-how has been maintained through smaller contracts. Sogerma is cutting 300 jobs, 110 of which were transferred to sister company Airbus. Freuchet promised that financial losses will be halted in 2006. --By Thierry Dubois
EASA Warns Its Members on Part 66 Rules
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has strongly reminded its 27 member states (European Union, Iceland, and Norway) that European rules now apply, specifically the Part 66 regulation for issuance of aircraft maintenance licenses. According to an agency spokeswoman, some countries are dragging their feet and have yet to enforce the European regulation. These "less serious" countries, as the spokeswoman put it, are still applyng their national rules. However, according to EASA, the transition period in which member states could deviate from this rule ended on September 28.
Moreover, the Cologne, Germany-based agency is "closely monitoring the implementation of Part 66" and insists the purpose is to avoid differences in interpretation across Europe. The threat of penalties is raised for non-complying countries. "We have a system for penalties," the spokeswoman emphasized. "In the case of a significant non-compliance finding, EASA will inform the European Commission and launch an infringement procedure. The case can be raised to the European Court in Luxembourg." -- By Thierry Dubois
Innotech Aviation Approved by Macau Regulators
Montreal-based Innotech Aviation recently gained MAR-145 Maintenance Organization approval from the authorities in Macau, an administrative region of the People's Republic of China. The approval includes base and line maintenance of the Bombardier Challenger 601, Honeywell GTCP-150 auxiliary power units, and aircraft components and airframe structural repairs.
TIMCO announced that it is expanding into the overhaul market for the popular CFM56 turbofan. TIMCO already provides field service and on-wing support for the CFM56 family and has been overhauling the Pratt & Whitney JT8D for 10 years at its Oscoda, Michigan facility. "The logical next step is to expand into the CFM [overhaul market]," said Gil West, TIMCO president. "The CFM56 offers a growth opportunity for us on the engine part of our business."
Through June of this year, CFM International delivered more than 15,000 engines and the company has a large backlog. Average age of the CFM56 fleet in North America is approaching 15 years, according to West, "and demand for engine repair continues to grow."
TIMCO's strategy is to offer an alternative for CFM56 service to North American operators of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s and A340s. "Engine maintenance is a material-intensive business," West explained. "Roughly 80 percent of a heavy visit is for material. Clearly that's a point of leverage for cost."
The alternative strategy includes developing repairs for CFM56 parts and using used and PMA (FAA-approved replacement) parts. For parts repairs, TIMCO has its own engineering capability.
"We also team with other suppliers in the marketplace, [where] their capabilities exceed ours," West said. We're looking for, how do we provide the most competitive product for our customers?"
TIMCO hopes to have the CFM56 shop running by the end of the year. But a location for the facility had not been selected as of mid-October.
Stop by the CRS Jet Spares NBAA booth (No. 2894) for a chance to win a new Harley Davidson motorcycle. The drawing will be held on Thursday, November 10.