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Aviation News Interview With Ajay Agrawal, President, Aftermarket Services at Collins Aerospace

Interview With Ajay Agrawal, President, Aftermarket Services at Collins Aerospace

Interview by Romain Guillot in Atlanta
11 APR 2019 | 1094 words
Interview With Ajay Agrawal, President, Aftermarket Services at Collins Aerospace
Collins Aerospace
The combination of UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) and Rockwell Collins has created a true giant in systems and equipment but also a major player in the aftermarket. The MRO Americas exhibition held in Atlanta was the perfect opportunity to meet Ajal Agrawal, President, Aftermarket Services at Collins Aerospace. Interview.

Can you summarize Collins Aerospace's aftermarket services in a few numbers?

Collins Aerospace reached $23 billion in revenue last year. The mix of the business, about 60 percent OE (original equipment) and 40 percent aftermarket is very similar to UTC Aerospace Systems, so no big change. Market is 75 percent commercial and 25 percent defense, also very similar to UTAS. It is a very balanced portfolio where we are really meeting the needs of our customer base. When it comes to customer support, a very important priority for Collins Aerospace, we have 10.000 people across the world, 80 MRO sites, 350 field support engineers who are at, or near, customer's site and six 24/7 Customer Response Centers. That means that we are really close to the customers, no matter in which part of the world they are. We have almost 2.000 customers around the world. For us, core field is customer support, making sure we can support the customer better than anybody else.

You have signed a new contract with All Nippon Airways at MRO Americas...

We are announcing an extension and an expansion of our FlightSense agreement with ANA to cover its 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10 fleet. ANA is the largest airline operator of the 787 in the world. The fleet is going from 63 aircraft today to 83. It's a ten years agreement and we will support them through a Power by the hour repair service as well as asset support. It's a very significant deal. We are also very excited about it because we have been supporting ANA for decades, a long relationship, and built a proven track record based on our performances.

We recognize that customers have very specific needs and requirements and so we have developed our FlightSense offering which is very responsive to these customer needs. It is a simplified offering, or service packages, and has 3 primary service options: it includes what we call FlightSense Repair which is a "Pay as you go" repair option. It also includes FlightSense Predictable, a repair dollar per hour service which gives very predictable costs to the airline, and FlightSense Available, an asset management dollar per hour offering with guaranteed asset availability with minimum upfront investments. Using this set of packages, we can really tailor and create customized solutions for our customers.

What about the Dispatch 100 program offered by Rockwell Collins?

Dispatch 100 and FlightSense are very similar programs. Coming together to form Collins Aerospace, we have a very good segment share and these two programs will really provide us opportunity for grow as we look ahead. Both program are well known in the industry and are working very well. Currently Dispatch 100 is focused in the avionics business and in near term, our plan is to keep it that way. Over time we will figure it out but for now the offering is working very well.

The combination of UTAS and Rockwell Collins activities created a giant in the aftermarket business. What kind of synergies have you already identified globally?

It is really a good question! You know, we closed our combination a few months ago and we are really finding tremendous opportunities to continue to bring new products and services to the customer base. You already touched on one, with programs like Dispatch 100 and FlightSense. We are also constantly looking at predictive health maintenance solutions and how we bring our joint capabilities to the table. We are looking at best practices across the company and deploying it into the entire customer base.

There are two different types of synergies with the combination. We have publicly said that this combination will bring about $500 million of cost synergies. I can't say anything new today but I feel very confident, based on what we have seen already, about delivering on that.

But what we are more exited about is revenue synergies. Because with UTC Aerospace systems' product line and Rockwell Collins' product line, we can really add the strength of both product lines to bring even more value to the customer. For example, Rockwell Collins had several modifications and upgrades offered to the airlines but UTAS also did, and now we can bring a more comprehensive package to the customer. So when an aircraft comes down for maintenance, you can optimize their aircraft faster and better. In connected aircraft, and digital, there is also a huge opportunity. As you know, UTAS had a sensor capability in its SIS business and Rockwell Collins had an extensive capability in digital. We are seeing a very strong opportunity to bring that together, for example in predictive health maintenance which is an area of strong interest to the airlines nowadays. There are also opportunities in business aviation.

What will be the trends for the aftermarket business in the next few years?

That's a very important question ! Over time, there is a shift in the customer base in terms of needing more longer terms support contracts. In the past, airlines wanted to integrate their own maintenance and over time they are focusing more on their customers, on the passenger's experience, on financial performances. So they are looking at us asking for extensive assets and more integrated contracts. It is not a step change, it's a gradual change. So we have created our offering to really meet the customer need. Collins Aerospace really believes in being flexible, because a given airline may want to integrate the support on a certain fleet but may not on another.

On top of that, customers are looking for additional value; we see it in at least three areas. The first is predictive maintenance and we really want to be a leading player in that space. We are seeing a strong interest in our predictive Health Management platform Ascentia. The second is mods and upgrades, with 90 percent of the global fleet consisting of aircraft of previous generations. How do we continue to upgrade and bring the latest capabilities on older aircraft is very important. And the third is surplus. As the fleet ages, we want to make sure to have a complete solution for the whole lifecycle and for that we have Intertrade, which was part of Rockwell Collins. Those are some examples of customers wanting more and more value.
Romain Guillot
Chief editor
Cofounder of Journal de l'Aviation and Alertavia


 
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