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Airline Purchasing Conference Investigates Support for Out-of-Production Aircraft

The UBM Airline Purchasing Conference began today in London.

The Conference was chaired by Boeing executive Michael Maple, who explained that our industry is all about quality, reliability, and safety.

Roland Van Dyjk, the President of Fokker Services, spoke about his experiences in supporting out-of-production aircraft.  He explained that successful companies are partnering with their customers to provide obsolescence planning and to provide mechanisms for obtaining approved parts when OEM parts supplies appear exhausted or unavailable.

Van Dyjk expressed that there are two times in the life cycle of a product when you find the most innovation.  During the original design, the OEM is involved in innovative design.  But the other major time for innovation is at the of the product’s life cycle.

There are still 600 Fokker aircraft in service. All of these Fokker aircraft are out of production; In fact, 40-50 percent of the commercial aircraft in service are out of production. Often the customers on these out-of-production aircraft are smaller operators.  They tend to buy aircraft for shorter periods – 5 years instead of 30.  They often have less infrastructure than the largest carriers.

Simply chain becomes a very serious issue for out of production aircraft. Dwindling supply chain avenues can result in increased costs; but offsetting this is the fact that teardown aircraft (those that are parted-out) become a source of parts for the marketplace.   Operators need to engage in obsolescence planning.

In support of out-of-production aircraft, Fokker has found itself redesigning parts and reverse engineering parts due to obsolescence and lack of availability.  They are working with OEMs to take over IP and manage production of obsolete parts in exchange for a royalty fee to the OEM.  In order to be able to this, Fokker uses the scale that comes from aggregating the needs of multiple customers.    This effort is similar to what PMA manufacturers engage in.

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About Jason Dickstein

Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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