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New directions

Ahead of the formal opening, MRO Management had an exclusive glimpse of Turkish Technic’s new HABOM maintenance facility. Ian Harbison reports from Istanbul

In December 2004, Turkish Technic launched the Havacilik Bakim Onarim ve Modifikasyon Merkezi (HABOM), or Aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center. This new facility, at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, is some 70km away from the company’s main base at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, on the other (Asian) side of the Bosporus. The facility was intended to be up and running by 2007 as a production line for nose-to-tail servicing of aircraft, taking advantage of Turkey’s position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and central Asia. Overhaul of engines and components were also part of the original plan.

Inevitably, there have been a number of changes since then, some negative, some positive. Economic downturns, a failed joint venture with ST Aerospace and some construction difficulties all caused delays to the building process that eventually started in March 2010. On the other hand, parent company Turkish Airlines has experienced phenomenal growth in aircraft, traffic and destinations in recent years. Of course, says Dr Ismail Demir, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Turkish Technic, this means the demands of the parent company have reduced opportunities for third-party work. Despite this, Turkish Technic remain in the top 10 of world MROs.

The situation was eased in May this year with the acquisition of the MNG Technic hangar on the opposite side of the runway at Ataturk. The hangar has four bays, covering 25,000m², and can simultaneously handle eight narrowbody and four widebody aircraft, or 16 narrowbody aircraft. The hangar also houses a 5,000m² two-bay paint facility which can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 777-300. A further 35,000m² is given over to workshops, offices and storage. Outside there is 30,500m² of apron space, including an engine run up area. Despite only opening in early 2011, MNG Technic was unable to fill the hangar successfully, presenting Turkish Technic with an opportunity to acquire a new facility at a competitive price.

New hangars
The first building to be completed at HABOM is the narrowbody hangar, it will soon begin operations with one or two bays. With this in place the company can now turn its attention back to the market, with Europe, Russia/CIS, the Middle East and North Africa as key areas.

The hangar can take six Airbus A320 Family or Boeing 737 aircraft tail-in on heavier checks, with a further five positioned nose-in between them on shorter visits. A mezzanine floor is used for easy seat removal and installation, as well as providing access to the workshops. There are four mobile tail docking stations, produced by NIJL in the Netherlands, convertible between Airbus and Boeing, as are two sets of wing docking. There is also one type-specific set of wing docking for each aircraft family. Internally, and on the apron, there are pop-up pits supplied by Cavotec providing power, hydraulics, water, starter and pre-conditioned air. Back shops here include structures, composites and non-destructive testing.

The entire project relies heavily on Lean processes and layouts, with the advantage of starting with a clean sheet of paper in terms of layout. The planning department is next to the hangar and there is a management office for every bay, with direct access to the aircraft. All removed components go through a single maintenance control point, both for collection and for return to the aircraft. As the level of the apron is higher than the surrounding land, there are three levels of offices and workshops underneath the hangar itself, so lifts ranging from 100kg to 10 tonnes have been installed. 


New technology is also being introduced. Consumables will be dispensed from machines, with each mechanic having an electronic card that allows costs to be allocated to the correct job, while also monitoring consumption. Tool control has been a problem at Ataturk, so radio frequency identification tags will be used, with wifi points throughout the facility for tracking purposes. Finally, because the three sites are so dispersed, video conferencing will be used for meetings – Istanbul’s famous traffic can mean a car journey between Ataturk and Sabiha Gökçen can take some time, especially if there are problems with either of the two bridges that must be crossed.

As well as the narrowbody hangar, phase one of the project also includes a community centre with restaurants, staff changing rooms, a chemical depot and waste repository. A series of walkways will provide shortcuts between the hangars, changing rooms and the training centre to speed up personnel moving between these areas.

Phase two includes the widebody hangar, which has two maintenance bays and a paint shop that is scheduled to open in March 2014. It will feature two full docking systems that are adjustable for Airbus A330/340 and Boeing 777. These are being supplied by CTI Systems. The same company is also responsible for the overhead crane system and teleplatforms in both hangars. The paint shop, separated by a wall from the rest of the facility, can take one widebody or two narrowbody aircraft – a curtain system separates the two, giving the option of carrying out maintenance in the other bay if necessary.

HABOM is a candidate for Gold certification by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for its environmental practices. As such, great attention has been paid to the extraction system in the paint bay, even to the extent of carrying out computational fluid dynamics analysis of the airflow. Other measures include: collecting rainwater from roofs and storing it for landscaping purposes; grey water recycling for use in reservoirs; ground source heat pumps to help in the heating and cooling of the hangars; and a trigeneration system for combined cooling, heat and power. There is a financial incentive here as well, as there are discounts available under the Green Airport Project run by the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation. >>

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