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11 Nov 2021

Industry Voices - Nick Filce


Covered under the ‘Major Assets’ division are; APU’s (Auxiliary Power Units), Landing Gears and Engine Nacelles (including Inlet/Nose Cowls, Thrust Reversers,  Fan Cowl doors & Common Nozzles).

Over the last 21 months, airlines have had no choice but to park large portions of their fleets during the COVID-19 crisis, with the demand for maintenance plummeting across all airframe components, including many of the airframes Major Assets. Nick Filce, Director Asset Sales at AerFin offers general insight into the division and discusses the implications the pandemic has had on the company’s pool of Major Assets.

Unlike engine nacelles and APU’s, an aircraft’s Landing Gear is a calendar-controlled asset, whereby the overhaul of the asset is scheduled and undertaken regardless of the reduced flying time the aircraft has done. While airlines are not terminating their contracts with the MROs for this maintenance, they are desperately trying to extend the removal/maintenance schedule due to the aircraft ‘parked’ status. As a result, we are seeing an increase in enquiries coming from the Lessor and Banking community as operators of older generation fleets are exploring the potential hand-back of these assets, however, the single aisle short haul aircraft appear to be less effected and are making a quicker return to the skies.

AerFin has a flexible pool of APU’s which are available for lease, exchange or sale. APU’s are the small gas turbines that provide electrical power to the Aircraft for starting engines, running the air conditioning, and providing electrical power whilst the aircraft is on ground.  For the sale, lease or exchange of an APU, full ‘back-to-birth’ traceability is required since APU’s often include Life Limited Parts (LLP’s).

APU’s are generally supplied “On Condition” and operate to failure unless the LLP’s become “Due” to their cycle limits. However, we are noticing more airlines are ‘trend monitoring’ their operations to determine when these units are likely to fail in an attempt to predict costly workshop visits. The preference should always be to remove the APU before a catastrophic failure occurs, in order to mitigate significant costs and extended lead times.   Bespoke trend monitoring is being offered that collects data automatically and can be sent real time to operators & MRO’s to assist with APU performance and Monitoring

More recently, we are noticing operators are favouring our flexible pool of Major Assets available for exchange or lease instead of owning the Major Asset outright, allowing them to avoid the significant up-front investment and on-going maintenance and overhaul costs. We have therefore developed a ‘Just in Time’ approach - with our partnership MRO’s & OEM’s, which allow us to increase our current stock locations and reduce the supply chain complications of holding bulky & expensive inventory.

We are continuing to see much more collaboration between the MRO’s / OEM’s and Asset Providers due to the cost of holding stock. The idea being the organisations specialise in their main expertise and develop areas vital to their own business strategy.  Alliances will include access to costly assets to support exchange programs or MRO’s managing certain Repairs where the OEM may have surplus work. The OEM may also be concentrating on developing new products & capability, therefore wishing to partner with MRO & asset owners to assist with over capacity and older generation support.

AerFin’s reputation is of paramount importance which is why we have teamed up with Reputable OEM’s & MRO’s to provide the customer with the confidence that “on wing” reliability and technical support is of industry best practice & Standards.     

Transportation & Logistics with these Major Assets can be difficult & expensive therefore AerFin have units stored strategically in the UK, Europe, Asia & USA. Our 24/7 coverage ensures we can ship any time of day or night through our Experienced Logistics dept.    

As with all our Major Assets, airframes covered include B737,  A320,  A330,  E170/E190 and 777 families

View the November edition of MRO Management here