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Keep on going

It is 32 years since the ATR family entered service but the aircraft are still going strong and remain in production, making product support a necessity for the manufacturer. Ian Harbison reports from Toulouse

The first ATR 42 entered service in 1985 and, since then, the company has sold more than 1,500 aircraft. They are operating with over 200 operators in about 100 countries, often on islands or in remote regions. This year has seen commitments for  110 orders and 20 options to date and ATR expects to deliver around 80 aircraft. There is a 9:1 ratio in favour of the larger ATR 72-600.


Tom Anderson, Senior Vice President Programs and Customer Services, says effective maintenance support is a key element of customer satisfaction for MRO and ATR is fully committed to keeping them happy.


Increasingly, this is through pay-by-the-hour Global Maintenance Agreements (GMA), which are tailor-made for each customer for on-aircraft and off- aircraft maintenance. The operator decides the level of investment and has access to a wide number of services, including guaranteed spares availability with stock on site; spares pool access; and LRU repair services.


The manufacturer holds more than 35,000 part numbers in stock (airframes, rotables, rotable breakdown parts, hardware, consumables, standard kits, engines, and tooling), as well as the lease of components and tools, repair, test and overhaul services, and standard exchange services. Spares include both new and used serviceable material, ATR being an active player in the market for the latter through parting out of aircraft. Consumables are distributed by KLX Aerospace, while ATR has begun to pre-assemble kits of parts for SBs in its Paris warehouse to provide a faster response. 


The Customer Care Coordination Centre (C4) in Toulouse is responsible for 24/7 AOG support, assisted by other centres in Singapore, Bangalore and Miami. As Anderson says, “follow the sun”.


The overall idea is to reduce risk through a predictable financial budget to cover MRO costs and availability of costly rotable items, along with guaranteed turnaround times and optimised logistics solutions with DHL. For example, Air Algérie uses the Paris warehouse, while Azul in Brazil is supplied from Miami. There are additional warehouses in Singapore and Auckland.


In addition, there is the I-CARE loyalty programme, which offers credit rewards against expenditure with ATR for parts and services.


Anderson says GMAs will grow and are a great way to get close to customers. Contracts signed this year show just how packages can be adapted to meet customers’ particular requirements. TransNusa in Indonesia extended its 2014 agreement, which covered the repair, overhaul and pooling services of LRUs, along with propeller services, fuel nozzle services and an on-site stock support for two ATR 72-600s as it is expanding its fleet with the addition of two ATR 42-500s and an ATR 72-600. Ireland- based Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann) extended a 10-year agreement for a further six years, which, while it covers LRU services, adds propeller availability and maintenance for two ATR 42-300s, three ATR 72-500s and 13 ATR 72-600s.


In the Americas, a large fleet of 15 ATR 72-600s operating under different brands of Avianca in Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras justifies making two sets of propellers available at the airline’s facilities, along with a specific maintenance training programme developed by Aircraft Propeller Service. For Colombian airline EasyFly, in addition to LRUs and propellers, there will be lease and overhaul services of the landing gears of two of the airline’s ATRs, as there will be for ATR 72-600s of Caribbean Airlines in Trinidad and Tobago. 


While GMAs started with the ATR 42/72-500 and have since extended to the later ATR 42/72-600, he says there is a growing requirement from operators with the legacy -200/300 models. Part of this demand is the nature of the airlines, as they tend to be smaller organisations with smaller fleets and often in remote areas, although the company still works with the customer in the same way as for entry into service of a new model. He gives the example of freighters in northern Canada, which are supported by Miami. >>


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