9 Feb 2018
Hafsah Abdulsalam is the Regional Sales Director, Africa, for AJW Group. Amidst the unfolding matrix of growth and challenges in aviation in Africa, she reveals some interesting issues in Africa's MRO industry. She speaks also on how AJW fits into the solutions in Africa's changing MRO landscape, in this exclusive interview with Aviation & Allied Business.
How would you describe the African MRO Market today?
AJW would describe MRO in Africa as still being in a gestation stage, and there is currently limited in-continent infrastructure to support the aviation MRO aftermarket.
As you may know, MRO services include aircraft, engine and component maintenance, and looking from north to south of the continent there are only 3 to 4 MROs that can lay claim to this status - to being fully-fledged and able to perform all functions of an MRO as noted above. There are still a number of capability gaps on the continent and
therefore there is a need to build MRO capacity if the region is to be self-supporting.
With Africa's airlines subject to a complex regulatory framework, there is a lot of work still to be done on the continent for MRO providers.
There are calls for more MRO facilities to be set up in Africa, especially West Africa. Do you think this is necessary?
Keeping aircraft airworthy through regular efficient and effective maintenance, repair and overhaul is a critical task for airlines. Whilst some African airlines, such as Kenya Airways, South African, Egypt Air, Tunis Air, Ethiopian Airlines to name a few have their own well-established in-house maintenance facilities, many others are unable to service their needs and look to third parties for support. Efficiencies can be gained by choosing a provider who is able to manage all MRO requirements, either through a network of MRO providers and/or with their own MRO facility. By choosing a provider, such as AJW, airlines are able to benefit from efficiencies and cost reduction by leveraging AJW's repair volumes.
Additionally, by having its own state-of-the-art MRO facility, AJW Technique, AJW has control over and can also guarantee the quality of repairs with flexible commercial terms as well as fast turnaround times. This combination enables AJW to support its customers and maximise the time-on-wing, thus improving the airline's fleet reliability and reducing total cost of ownership.
On the other hand, if MROs are to be established in-continent, they should be set up based on regional requirements. In West Africa, for example, there are no certified aircraft maintenance facilities able to perform maintenance up to C check level other than Aero Contractors for the Q400 and B737CL and AJW is proud to be partnering with them on this project. With the continent's fleet currently at approximately 1,300, an additional MRO facility would certainly boost the continent's MRO capabilities in addition to benefitting the wider economy in the creation of jobs.
What new interventions and value addition is AJW bringing to Africa vis-a vis the projected growth in aviation in the region?
AJW Group is a world-leading independent specialist in the supply, exchange, repair and lease of airframe and engine spare parts with almost 4,000 commercial and business aircraft under contract.
With customers in more than 117 countries worldwide, we have full service product support for 69% of all commercial aircraft globally that are flying today. We have a huge inventory, together with a network of MRO's and our own extensive component repair and overhaul capability based in Montreal.
AJW currently partners with airlines operating over 70% of Africa's fleet and our ethos is constantly focused on bringing about improvements and efficiencies to the airlines we work with.
Cost of aircraft maintenance is still a challenge for most African airlines given their real financial state. What can AJW do to support these airlines?
Africa continues to witness upgrades, refurbishments, conversions and change of aircraft which require MRO facilities to service the requirements and drive down the cost of maintenance. As the volume of aircraft looks to increase on the continent by a further 1,000 in the next 20 years - looking at Airbus and Boeing Global Market Forecasts 2017 - there is a definite need to increase maintenance capacity.
AJW can support airlines by allowing them to gain greater economies of scale and purchasing power. This is achieved as AJW supports large portfolios of fleets across the globe, as well as having the expertise and infrastructure to manage entire supply chains effectively. By outsourcing, airlines can reduce and streamline their own vendor management, whilst
minimising the cost of MRO.
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