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AJW Group company profile – Air International Magazine

5 Jun 2024

A few companies ooze confidence and self-assurance when you visit: from well-kept lawns outside its headquarters at Slinfold, West Sussex, to the efficient operation of its warehouse – with an endless stream of aircraft parts packed, labelled, loaded, and sent on their way, AJW Group is justifiably a global MRO sector leader. Glenn Sands speaks to some of its key players in this company profile feature for Air International Magazine.

Talking to Chairman Christopher Whiteside 

AJW Group is an independent, award-winning company that has earned itself a reputation as one of the sector’s most trusted and efficient operators, supporting more than 1,000 airlines across 100 countries.  

At the core of the company is the belief in establishing a mutually beneficial, trusted partnership with the client. This is a point that AJW Group Chairman, Christopher Whiteside, is keen to emphasise,We have an exceptional reputation in the industry and strive to do our job consistently, practically, reliably, and honestly to best serve our global customers best.”  

He added,We recently announced the acquisition of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and have entered the Airbus A350 support market by acquiring a significant spare parts package. These are strategic moves, and we are now positioned to support A350 operators and airlines worldwide with many components.”  

 

Sands observes that this ability to respond quickly to the sector’s needs indicates that Whiteside keenly monitors the operators’ future needs. AJW has strategically positioned Airbus A350 spare parts in its various hubs across Europe and the Americas.  

 

We are poised to provide unparalleled service for the new generation of long-haul aircraft, ensuring efficient maintenance operations across our existing and expanding global A350 customer base with the added support of AJW Technique, our MRO facility in Montréal,” said Whiteside. 

Focusing on people 

The Group has attracted the best and brightest to join its staff, and all come with a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are keen to develop across its many divisions.  

Clyde Buntrock, Chief Executive Officer of AJW Aviation and AJW Technique, joined the company in 2022, having had experience in global supply chain management and technology. 

He says,My style is to have a relentless focus on people and building high-performing teams, and my success stems not only from my business background, but from my passion for sports. In today’s dynamic business environment, I have translated this focus to fostering a positive performance culture that isn’t just a strategic move, it’s a necessity. 

I firmly believe that our people are the cornerstone of our success, and interpersonal relationships are the bedrock upon which success is built. 

He continues, statingthe opportunity to create ‘high-performance teams’ through training has created a robust performance culture across all areas of the Group. 

An eye on the future 

No matter how good the team, the aviation industry experiences fluctuations, and the global pandemic demonstrated that it must be adaptable – a view echoed across the Group and maintains its status as an industry leader in the MRO sector.  

Chief Commercial Officer, Scott Symington, keeps a firm eye on the future of AJW to ensure challenges are met. He discusses the company’s approach to proactively adjusting its strategies to deal with the post-Covid trend of operators holding on to their fleets longer than ever before.  

We’ve streamlined processes through digitisation efforts, enhanced inventory management, and provided real-time visibility into component status and shipment tracking. We are developing automated fulfilment solutions and are looking at our first pilot for robotics in our MRO facility in Montréal. These advancements will allow us to rapidly respond to customer needs, optimise our inventory levels, and market demand efficiently,” said Symington.

 

AJW Group company profile – Air International Magazine

Global teams 

Having a large inventory is not good enough if it’s all in one location, effectively increasing delivery times and logistics when a request comes in.  

It’s an issue Symington is keenly aware of. Over the past couple of years, AJW has expanded its global operations by placing support teams in Turkey and Mexico City to underscore our commitment to offering an international and customer-centric service. 

With additional support from AJW Technique, our MRO facility in North America along with our strategically located global offices and hubs, we have delivered unparalleled service, priming us to capitalise on emerging regional opportunities.” 

Symington also has eyes on the future, particularly the emerging eVTOL market.We’re embracing innovation and driving positive change in the industry through our recent partnership with Lilium, a market leader in eVTOL technology. By serving as the exclusive parts distributor for Lilium’s eVTOL jets, we’re supporting ground-breaking technology and championing sustainability within aviation.  

Strategic advantage 

Montréal, Canada, regarded as a critical aerospace hub within the industry, is home to AJW Group’s MRO facility, AJW Technique. The city is a melting pot of talent and expertise, facilitating collaboration and innovation within the industry, providing an invaluable strategic advantage to AJW Technique
 

Proximity to other aerospace OEMs allows the Group to stay ahead of the curve, enabling AJW Technique to meet the needs of an ever-evolving market. AJW Technique Europe, based in West Sussex, UK, specialises in aircraft battery maintenance, boasting a Centre of Excellence dedicated to this critical aspect of aviation.  

President of AJW Technique, Louis Mallette, believes his ability to speak English, French, and Spanish has helped him navigate diverse cultures and led to success in his role. However, he notes that the MRO sector is still recovering from the turbulent years of Covid-related change. 

 

 “Our work here is not without its challenges and opportunities. The resurgence of global passenger traffic over the past two years presents both, particularly regarding our MRO operations. 

Labour shortages continue to be a concern, threatening to impede the anticipated growth in flight schedules and fleet expansion. We’ve recognised the importance of investing in talent development initiatives to address this head-on,” said Mallette. 

 

A greener planet 

The Group is aware of the industry’s impact on the environment and is driving to increase sustainability alongside business growth. The Group has already introduced several practices, Buntrock explains,From sourcing eco-friendly materials to adopting sustainable practices in our MRO facilities, we’re committed to minimising our environmental footprint. Whether opting for environmentally friendly cleaning solutions or exploring innovations in materials, sustainability permeates every aspect of our operations. 

We’ve implemented rainwater harvesting systems and solar panels at our eco-friendly headquarters. Our Facilities and Operation teams are spearheading initiatives to reduce our CO2 emissions further.  

Mallette supports Buntrock’s comments on greater sustainability, concurring thatSustainability lies at the heart of our business ethos. 

Mallette elaborates: “Central to our sustainability efforts are economical repair activities and responsible end-of-life management. Through repair and recycling processes at all our facilities, we minimise environmental impact while delivering cost-effective solutions to our customers. This commitment aligns with regulatory requirements and enhances our corporate social responsibility profile, positioning us as a preferred MRO partner within the industry.”  

Sands concludes that AJW Group has a clear path to follow in supporting commercial aviation in all its sectors. He ends the article by observing that a comment from Christopher Whiteside best sums up its future: We’ve come a long way. We have strong foundations and ambitions that will keep us progressing for decades to come.” 

 

 

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