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Aviation News ATR invests in continuous improvement

ATR invests in continuous improvement

Lo Barnier
16 JAN 2019 | 497 words
ATR invests in continuous improvement
ATR
Like other aircraft manufacturers, ATR is placing more emphasis on incremental innovation than on introducing breakthrough technologies. However, it must be acknowledged that the Franco-Italian OEM is constantly working to improve its product in the face of a competition yet in difficulty. This principle also applies to the customer support sector, where ATR strengthened its capacities during 2018 and means to carry on in 2019.

Maintenance improvement was therefore at the heart of discussions at the Vendors Conference which was held in mid-November last year and features 60 representatives of ATR's suppliers. The manufacturer asked them to work together to "identify ways of reducing maintenance costs" and "develop alternative repair and maintenance solutions to prevent delays and flight cancellations". The objectives which were set have not been revealed, but the suppliers were asked to put actions in place quickly to ensure they are achieved by June 2019.

Efforts have also been made in-house. The most obvious example is the reorganisation and inauguration of the new Customer Care Center at its Blagnac facility at the end of October. The project had been launched in March 2018 to improve fleet technical support and increase output, with nearly 1 500 customer requests being handled each month. This new centre should also enable better integration between the front office and technical expert teams and facilitate information exchange. A new range of visual management tools has also been put in place to improve teams' view of the fleet's condition, with the activity transmitted in real time.

MRO coverage

The Toulouse-Francazal MRO centre, which runs on a "one-stop shop" principle also seems to be gaining influence. ATR set up there in July 2016, redeveloping a 2 500 m former military hangar which is able to accommodate two twin-engined turboprop aircraft and then constructing a 1 200 m building which can accommodate 80 people. The site has been Part 154 and Part 147 certified to be able to carry maintenance and repair works and provide practical training for technicians.

Toulouse-Francazal mainly hosts retrofit activities, with an avionics and cabin improvement and upgrade centre and pure maintenance. It is also used for R&D activities, with a flight test centre for new equipment such as ClearVision and a platform for the development of the ATR 72-600F.

Finally, for several years now ATR has had a worldwide approved network, in particular in South East Asia, Europe and Latin American for operational fleet support. This is the case in particular for aircraft which are covered by Global Maintenance Agreements (GMA). ATR estimates that these contracts apply to around a quarter of its total fleet, some 300 aircraft.

While the coverage rate is higher for the -600 series with around 50% of the 42/72-600s under GMA agreements, the number of aircraft covered has changed little over the last five years. The manufacturer was already claiming nearly 300 aircraft under GMA at the end of 2013. There is no doubt that ATR will be working to improve this figure, given the growing importance of services in manufacturers' financial model.
Léo Barnier
Specialized journalist
Industry & Technology, Equipments, MRO


 
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