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AJW Viewpoint | The Challenges of Parts Supply

29 Jan 2020

The aviation components aftermarket is a simple one if seen from afar: a significant number of parts suppliers and OEMs offering a plethora of services to airlines to maintain airworthiness of their globally very diverse fleet. However, when one scratches the surface, there is a lot more to the aftermarket supply chain.

Parts repair challenges


For those parts for which one can predict or plan the removal, there is the challenge to redesign the repair and overhaul process. Parts removed without a failure need to follow a different (and cheaper) track, something AJW Technique, our parts repairs facility in Montreal, has been focusing on for the last few years.


For those parts removed outside planned windows, there remains the balancing of access and cost: location, time to deliver, wrapped in service contracts or not - all mixed with the requirements to supply with certain quality of documentation, at the right place at the right time. Companies like AJW have honed that skill over decades, adding significant IT dimensions in the last few years to integrate fully with the existing airline processes of dealing with component failure and/or troubleshooting.


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That being said, airlines now face a new challenge in the control of OEMs over the parts market for certain newer aircraft types where component repair documentation is not available to third parties. That means that some platforms are not available to purchase or overhaul in an open market, with longer lead times and cost as a consequence. This translates into some engine LRU (line replaceable units) only being available through OEM for example.


Despite these complexities and challenges, IATA estimates that the spares market is now worth $5 billion annually, with this figure expected to continue rising as more aircraft enter the global fleet and as newer aircraft types age.


This predicted growth also brings with it opportunities for airlines to benefit from the services offered by innovative parts suppliers and OEMs. 


AJW Viewpoint | The Challenges of Parts Supply

Solutions lie in partnerships


One solution to consolidate the parts market is the formation of strategic partnerships between independent suppliers and OEMs. These partnerships are formed when businesses like AJW Group work as an integrator between their airline customer and an OEM. With this approach, and the co-operation of an MRO, airlines can complete advanced exchanges at a flat rate. A fixed cost for overhaul is agreed in advance for all exchanges so that an airline can budget more effectively for their parts supply needs, with part of the risk-shifting to the supplier.


Another form of partnership which can both reduce costs and ensure their certainty, is for airlines to support their parts supplier in heavy maintenance phases, something AJW has been helping airlines with for the last few years, with significant savings to the airline as a result. 


This is why AJW Group believes there is a delicate balance to be struck to offer a wide range of services which includes parts sales and support, contracted services / PBH, MRO, Asset Management and Engine Services, with complimentary value engineering, reliability advisory and tailor-made integration through business management systems - all of which helps it sustain its strong position in the market and the value delivered to airlines.


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A leader in the parts supply market


AJW Group is a leader in the parts supply market and has been recognised for its excellence by Aviation 100, which has seen it awarded ‘Parts Supplier of the Year’ for 8 years running based on the volume of parts stocked, the growth of its customer base and the locations of its employees and parts reserves.


To best service its 1,000 airline customers and the 6,000 business and commercial aircraft it has under contract, AJW has strategic inventory hubs placed across Europe, Asia and North America with over 70 languages spoken by its team that operate 24/7/365 to meet the needs of airlines.



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