Posted on: 13 April 2018
Chris Dare, managing director at Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd. (MAEL), talks about how the company has emerged from the ashes of Monarch Airlines’ demise to lay firm foundations for its growth as a third-party MRO player. This article first appeared in the February/March 2018 edition of LARA. To access the full issue, click here.
MAEL announced in early October 2017 it was continuing as a standalone company following the sad demise of Monarch Airlines. What has the reaction been from the commercial aviation sector at recent industry events to MAEL’s efforts to secure new business?
The reaction has been very positive since the demise of the airline. MAEL is a standalone company so we hold our own cash, property and employees. We had always planned to be at the MRO Europe show [in London], for example, but given the recent closure of the airline, it was even more important we had a presence there to let the industry know we are continuing and to begin discussions securing new business.
We have been growing our third-party work significantly over the years, and now we are solely a third-party MRO business we need to continue in our growth. Following a very busy MRO Europe we have had a number of very positive conversations leading to new contract wins.
What are MAEL’s plans going forward, and how competitive is the current market environment?
We are now able to fit third-party work in when and where our customers want, instead of having limited time and space in order to prioritise the Monarch aircraft work as was done previously. MAEL is expanding with the opening of our component maintenance centre in Northampton. We are on target for an August 2018 opening with this state-of-the-art facility being ideally located between our Luton and Birmingham hangars.
The CAA has granted our Subpart G approval for us to operate full CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation) support. This is very important as we are now able to expand and support more business enquiries for CAMO work.
During 2017 we also celebrated our 50-year anniversary. MAEL has developed into one of the world’s leading MROs as well as proudly developing thousands of people who have gained valuable engineering skills and knowledge through training and experience. We are looking forward to the next 50 years.
What is MAEL’s focus in the short- to medium-term?
Quite simply, our short-term aim is filling the Monarch aircraft slots we had planned for winter maintenance. There has been a lot of interest in the vacant hangar space and I am confident we will fill the slots.
The company has gained some solid contracts and approvals in recent times, from A320neo and Wizz Air line maintenance approvals, base maintenance agreements with Icelandair (B757 cargo) and Virgin Atlantic (B787s), and A350 maintenance work for China Airlines starting in December this year. How encouraged are you by these endorsements?
These are excellent contract wins and, with big names signing up as new customers, we continue to show the industry we are key players in the MRO sector. MAEL offers world-class engineering services to customers in Europe and around the world. With our Boeing Global Services partnership, we look forward to many more high-calibre wins in 2018.
Another important factor in these contract awards is that they are new customers. As we look to the future it is crucial we continue attracting new customers as well as renewing focus on our existing clients. We are always assessing our capabilities and listening to our customers wants and needs to see how we can improve our services.
How much will the company be focusing on new-technology/new-generation aircraft, and emerging geographical regions?
New-generation aircraft are a big focus for Monarch Aircraft Engineering going forward. Being partnered with Boeing and their Global Fleet Care programme demonstrates recognition of our commitment and investment to supporting the next generation of aircraft. For winter 2017/18 over 20 B787 aircraft will be maintained at our Birmingham hangar.
We are also very proud of the achievement at being awarded ‘Line Maintenance Provider of the Year 2017’ recently. This year we opened new line stations at Edinburgh and Nice, as well as expanding our existing line station in Malaga. This was done to support Boeing Global Fleet Care customers. MAEL currently has 10 line stations across Europe and I am open to the possibility of expanding and supporting the line should there be a demand for it.