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Sum of the parts

AJW is best known as a spares supplier but the group’s activities go far beyond that and are changing with the market. Ian Harbison visited the company’s headquarters near London-Gatwick to find out more

Christopher Whiteside, President and CEO of AJW, says the company’s traditional business model of being a spares provider with a speciality in power-by-the-hour arrangements is changing, even though it has over 1,000 airline customers in 117 counties and an inventory of more than 450,000 line items valued at nearly $500 million. The catalyst for change was a 2015 contract with easyJet under which it became the primary provider of the airline’s requirements for component maintenance; the provision, storage and distribution of consumables and expendables. This was described as the provision of integrated services that allows airlines to completely outsource all of their inventory requirements.


AJW has its own MRO Facility, AJW Technique in Montreal. This was an opportunistic purchase, says Whiteside, arising out of the bankruptcy of Aveos, as the company had its own repair shops before but had moved to partnerships with other companies. The facility supports a wide range of platform types including Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier.

In addition, it has been accredited with Authorised Repair Capability for Thales avionics components. This will be helped by a recent contract for rotable components on the Canadian OEM’s business aircraft (he is a long-time customer). He notes that Air Canada has also returned as a customer, with a contract in late 2016 for evacuation slide refurbishment. A capability for oxygen masks has been added but there are no plans for major expansion at present.


Whiteside comments that there is a skilled workforce and good union relationships and that the business is now in a steady state. The facility holds several global approvals: ANAC (Brazil), CAAC (China), DGCA (Indonesia) and HKCAD (Hong Kong), to  omplement FAA, EASA and Transport Canada.


Although it is now established as a global repair hub for the Group, AJW still retains a network of more than 80 preferred component repair vendors, including some big names, such as Thales (which is part of the easyJet contract) and Rockwell Collins.


As part of a deal to provide complete inventory technical management for Tigerair Australia, it enlisted the help of NORDAM Singapore to provide nacelles, thrust reversers and cowls on a pool basis during repair and overhaul, and Air New Zealand Engineering and Maintenance, which provided component maintenance as part of its active support for AJW Technique.


It can also use its experience to provide assistance to other companies, for example, in 2015, it worked with TECHNIC ONE, the Russian repair and spare components business to set up a spare parts pool for Sukhoi SuperJet and Irkut MC-21 aircraft, a component repair service, and a spare parts centre for CFM56 engines. The new technical/maintenance facility was established in the special economic zone in Ulyanovsk Vostochny, Russia. In the same year, it provides engine shop visit management services to NordStar Airlines of Russia for CFM56-7B engines.


In November 2016, AJW’s Engine division was relocated from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and integrated with the technical and sales teams at the group headquarters at Slinfold near Gatwick. It also offers integrated management solutions such as engine parts supply, inventory consignment, fan blade exchange programmes and shop visit management.


The remaining parts of AJW incorporates Leasing and Capital, which provide financial solutions. AJW’s Leasing division, headquartered in the Isle of Man since 2013 with a presence in Ireland, provides predominantly long-term operating engine and spare parts leasing solutions, although it also offers shorter powerplant lease terms to meet temporary needs of operators, such returning aircraft to service after overhaul when the original powerplant may have been delayed. Most of this involves Airbus and Boeing rotable aircraft spares and CFM, Pratt & Whitney and GE inventory. It serves more than 20 lessees in more than 20 countries.


As an example, in a 2016 Boeing 737NG PBH deal with Danish leisure airline Primera Air, the company placed exclusive and non-exclusive stock at Primera’s operational headquarters in Copenhagen. >>

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