Aftermarket maintenance specialist Jet Support Services International (JSSI; Booth A60) arrives at EBACE 2022 with two recently acquired maintenance tracking providers—SierraTrax and Traxxall—and a new “fully integrated” branding strategy for the expanded company.
“We’ve been housing the services under different brands,” said president and CEO Neil Book. “But now JSSI is a much broader brand, encapsulating maintenance tracking, inventory management, MRO process control software, and data services, in addition to our core business of hourly cost maintenance services, and we’re excited to announce our branding going forward in the market.”
JSSI began its expansion in the middle of the last decade, establishing a parts and engine leasing business to complement its guaranteed hourly cost maintenance plans, before acquiring business aircraft operating cost specialist Conklin & de Decker in 2018. It acquired SierraTrax in June and Traxxall in December. The two provide maintenance tracking, data analytics, and records management solutions.
Since the acquisitions, JSSI has “focused on the backend integration of these companies” and found little overlap among customers for JSSI’s maintenance plans, Conklin & de Decker subscribers, and clients for the maintenance-tracking services.
“That's opening up new entry points to operators we haven't worked with historically,” Book said. “For example, we have the ability to monitor a client’s maintenance forecast and can offer to supply parts at a discount.”
Meanwhile, JSSI’s core guaranteed cost maintenance business has continued to grow, with more than 2,000 business jets—about 10 percent of the global fleet—now under contract, Book said. The parts and engine leasing business “crossed the $100 million threshold in revenue” in 2021. JSSI has some 50 jet engines “across every make and model” available for lease.
Given the number of aircraft under maintenance plans, the information JSSI collects on their flights hours and other operational metrics provides valuable data on fleet trends, and the story of the last two years has been “the remarkable flight-hour growth,” said Book. After 2019 registered “the highest per-aircraft flight-hour reporting we'd ever seen, we saw dramatic growth in 2021," he said. "It was just a remarkable year, which has continued into 2022." That extended even into March when a contraction was expected due to the war in Ukraine.
Regarding sanctions related to the conflict, “We've had 22 aircraft that we've suspended or terminated services on, where there is a direct link or a suspected link to Russian nationals,” Book said. “We want to be on the right side of this, so we’ve taken a conservative approach toward any aircraft that has or will potentially appear on the sanctions list.”
The affected aircraft are predominantly Gulfstreams, Bombardier Globals, and other long-range, large-cabin jets.
The service suspension extends to JSSI’s parts business, as well. “We've had a significant number of parts requests coming in from places where we don’t typically get them,” Book said. “All of a sudden, we've got new operators in Moldova requesting parts, which we highly suspect are linked back to companies headquartered in Russia that are attempting to use subsidiary businesses just outside of Russian borders to buy parts. We're very proactively shutting those discussions down.”
One sour spot on the books: JSSI’s “end-of-life solutions” program for acquiring and parting out jets that have reached the end of their service lives. Unprecedented demand for lift means fewer jets are finding their way to the scrap heap.
“We typically acquire anywhere from 15 to 25 aircraft a year to part out and tear down, and we don't require a prepurchase inspection because we're not looking to keep the airplane flying,” said Book. “Now we’re competing with people who intend to fly it, but they're not even making [their offer] contingent on a prepurchase inspection. Last year, we put in more than a hundred offers on [end-of-life] aircraft, and we acquired just two Citation Bravos.
“It speaks volumes that aircraft that were typically taken out of service are continuing to fly,” Book continued. “So I think we're seeing people do things that don't make any economic sense.”