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Aviation News StandardAero invests in France for turboprop engines

StandardAero invests in France for turboprop engines

Léo Barnier
23 MAY 2019 | 660 words
StandardAero invests in France for turboprop engines
© StandardAero
The uncertainties created by changes of ownership and names of the last few years doesn't seem to be affecting the current dynamic at the Gonesse MRO centre, which is now owned by StandardAero. A year and a half after it was bought over, the Paris-area site has just completed a very busy years in operational and financial terms and should see its activities continue to develop. On 7th May, its American owner announced the reinforcement of its on-site and mobile capabilities, the renewal of its licences with Pratt & Whitney Canada and its agreement with Daher and confirmed several recruitments.

The main new element in StandardAero's announcements in Gonesse is the new service centre to be established on site this year. It will provide solutions for operations from "light" maintenance to the inspection of engines' hot sections. This new capability will go hand in hand with the strengthening of mobile repair technician (MRT) teams. StandardAero is also planning to propose more repair possibilities direct to the customer and increase its quick intervention capabilities for aircraft on ground (AOG) situations caused by engine breakdown.

A long-term relationship with Pratt & Whitney Canada

The other significant element is the confirmation of its status as a designated overhaul facility (DOF) for Pratt & Whitney Canada, with licences renewed for the PT6 and PW100 in April. Gonesse therefore has accreditation for the servicing, inspection and repair of 23 engines in the PW100 family, including the PW127Ms (ATR -600s), and nine in the PT6 family.

The site has also extended its agreement with Daher, which it signed in 2016, to carry out maintenance for the PT6 engines of the TBM 700 aircraft fleet operated by the French Armed Forced Ministry. This fleet is managed by Daher as part of a complete operational support agreement.

To keep up with these developments, StandardAero launched a recruitment campaign for its French entity at the end of 2018. In total, around twenty additional technicians have been or will be recruited, along with other profiles. The American group means to respond to future increased workload in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market.

European centre for turboprop engines

Gonesse is therefore making its mark StandardAero's main maintenance centre in Europe for these two engines, in particular in opposition to Tilburg in the Netherlands. "StandardAero's decision to make the Gonesse site the cornerstone for its European MRT team for PW100s and PT6As underlines the importance that we give services within our personnel", emphasised Laurent Cluzel, the French site's chief executive. The site is now the counterpart for the Summerside facilities in Canada.

In exchange, the Tilburg site in the Netherlands should be reinforcing its military capabilities, possibly around the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine (which powers the F-35). This would also respond to the American group's desire to develop its military activities in Europe.

However, the diversification of the Paris-region's centre into other types of commercial engine doesn't appear to be on the agenda yet. This had often been mentioned, given that the PW100 family accounts for around three quarters of the site's activities.

Global strategy

More broadly, these investments are part of a strategy by the Gonesse site to improve its processes along lean manufacturing lines and optimise its work flows. This process is in keeping with StandardAero's desire to improve TAT, with increased control over deadlines and quality. The first employee agreements on working time organisation were signed in 2018 with the French trade unions.

StandardAero's other objective is to increase turnover. The Gonesse site is not being targeted in particular, but the American group is not hiding its desire to give fresh impetus to the ex-Vector Aerospace to which it belonged. Owned by the Airbus group between 2011 and 2017, this Canadian company saw its annual income stagnate at around 700 million dollars for ten years. This situation was due in part to a lack of strategic interest for the European group.
Léo Barnier
Specialized journalist
Industry & Technology, Equipments, MRO


 
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