Martin Bauer, managing director of business aircraft maintenance specialist Aero-Dienst (Booth 2151), is worrying that cheap maintenance packages offered by U.S. MRO players are drying up the European market. The Nuremberg, Germany-based firm is struggling to fill slots in its workshops, especially for heavy checks.
“U.S. players in MRO have lower man-hour costs and benefit from the currency exchange rate; on top of that, their deals even include fuel reimbursement for those aircraft flying from Europe,” Bauer told AIN. He attributed their aggressiveness to a weak domestic market. The bottom line for Aero-Dienst, Bauer said, is heavy maintenance work lost to U.S. competitors.
Heavy maintenance events such as C-checks are needed in the mix of activities, he emphasized. He would not deem his facilities underutilized but admitted that the hangar Aero-Dienst added in 2011 is not fully busy either.
Aero-Dienst services Bombardier Learjets and Challengers, Dassault Falcons, Hawkers and Fairchild Dornier 328 Jets. It has 300 employees, 150 of them working on the hangar floor. Despite the economic conditions, no job cut has taken place or is planned, Bauer insisted.
Aero-Dienst also offers aircraft management and thus holds an AOC. It offers few hours on the charter market, as owners want total flexibility, Bauer said. Aero-Dienst currently manages eight aircraft for four customers.