This month marked the third annual MARPA EMEA PMA Parts Conference. After successful events in Istanbul (2015) and Madrid (2016), MARPA hosted this year’s conference in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, with the twin objectives of engaging the aircraft leasing community, and making attendance convenient for both MARPA’s manufacturing members and air carrier members. Building on the success of the previous two years, MARPA was able to bring together more than a dozen different customers and potential customers to meet and network with PMA manufacturers and hear from government representatives and members of industry about the opportunities and benefits of PMA.
One of the primary reasons for selecting Dublin as the site of the 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference was to work to engage the leasing community in discussions about the acceptability and use of PMA on leased aircraft. The use of PMA on leased aircraft is one of the most important issues that members mention to MARPA, and restrictive clauses in lease agreements often create challenges for member operators in implementing and achieving their maintenance program goals, whether driven by cost, efficiency, or reliability. As leased aircraft continue to expand as percentage of the global fleet, it will become more and more important to work with lessors to ensure PMA remains an option for operators of leased aircraft.
MARPA worked closely with representatives from the International Trade Administration and the U.S. Embassy in Ireland to secure a meeting with members of the leasing community. This initial meeting was hosted by the Charge d’affaires Reece Smyth and was attended by representatives of the ITA, FAA, representatives from each of MARPA’s conference sponsors, and representatives of several leasing companies. This was a very productive luncheon in which the lessors were able to explain their positions and concerns, and government regulators and MARPA members were able to address and discuss those concerns, as well as describe how and why PMA are beneficial not just to operators, but to the lessors themselves. (Due the sensitive nature of these discussions, and potential competitive issues, the lessors have asked us to refrain from broadly naming them at this time.) The challenges of PMA and leased aircraft were not solved by this luncheon, but it was an important step in continuing the conversation and addressing lessor concerns. MARPA hopes that this was just the first of many productive conversations that we will have with the aircraft leasing community.
The MARPA EMEA Conference also provided an opportunity to meet and network with a number of air carriers and MROs, some of whom can’t be seen (or previously haven’t been seen) at the MARPA Annual Conference in the U.S. Attendees included operators such as Aer Lingus, Emirates, Swiftair, and the Dubai Royal Air Wing, among others, as well as MROs like Luthansa Technik and Dublin Aerospace. The combination of receptions, lunch, and breaks, provided several hours of time to meet with the attendees and begin to develop or further build customer relationships, and for the operators to get new and useful information from manufacturers.
And, as always at a MARPA event, there was a robust agenda featuring presentations from all sides of the industry. These presentations included the keynote address by Aer Lingus Chief Technical Officer Fergus Wilson, as well as presentations from Stobart Air and Delta Air Lines, in which each discussed the role PMA plays in their operations, how they use PMA now and what they see in the future, and anecdotes about the successful use of PMA in their maintenance programs. Charge d’affaires Reece Smyth also offered remarks on the efforts by the U.S. and Ireland to encourage small businesses, stimulate trade and job creation, and the excellent trade and diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Ireland.
Manufacturers also offered their insight into the industry, described hows and whys of some of their successes, and made predictions about the direction of PMA. Finally, speakers from the FAA made presentations about the status of initiatives that could affect the PMA industry, both domestically and internationally, and recapped for attendees the regulatory basis for PMA.
MARPA hopes to build on the success of the past three EMEA Conferences going forward and continue to deliver quality content and networking opportunities to our members domestically and internationally. MARPA also looks forward to seeing everyone in Orlando for the 2017 MARPA Annual Conference for more great speakers, workshops, and business development opportunities. Register today!
The 3rd Annual MARPA EMEA Conference, this year being held in Dublin, Ireland, is less than two weeks away. The event, scheduled May 8-9, with a special tour of MRO Dublin Aerospace’s facility May 10*, will be a great opportunity to meet air carriers, MROs, suppliers, and government officials, that you don’t see at other conferences, including the MARPA domestic conference.
Even now we are still adding air carrier attendees, including two new additions just this week that we know our members will want to speak with. We typically see air carriers register even up to the day of the conference, so we don’t want you to miss out on an opportunity to develop a relationship with a new potential customer. You can find an updated list of conference attendees here.
We will also have as a part of the conference agenda a Panel Discussion on how PMA improves safety and reliability, moderated by MARPA board member Josh Krotec, from First Aviation Services. This panel will offer the panelists a great chance to provide real-world examples of how they have worked with customers to use PMA to solve problems for air carriers. Due to a scheduling conflict, there is still one slot available for an interested conference attendee to participate on this panel! If you would like to have the opportunity to sit on this panel and provide testimonials about your company’s successes in front of your current and potential customers, please reach out to MARPA Program Manager Katt Brigham at Katt@washingtonaviation.com for details.
We look forward to seeing you all in Dublin!
*Please RSVP to Katt if you would like to participate in the Dublin Aerospace facility tour.
MARPA is very excited to announce that Dublin Aerospace has agreed to host a tour for attendees of the MARPA EMEA Conference on the morning of May 10, 2017. The MARPA EMEA Conference itself is scheduled for May 8-9 at the Dublin Hilton Kilmainham in Dublin, Ireland. This is the third year that MARPA has put on a European conference, and it will be a great opportunity to meet and network with customers you may not get a chance to see at the MARPA Annual Conference in Orlando, as well as hear the latest information and developments from the PMA world.
Dublin Aerospace is based at Dublin International Airport, and is equipped to perform work on aircraft, APUs, and landing gear. Dublin Aerospace’s primary focus is on the Airbus A320 family and the A330 aircraft, as well as the Boeing 737NG and Classic aircraft. Their APU repair shop focuses on most Boeing and Airbus APUs, and the landing gear facility performs work on both the A320 family and the Boeing 737 family landing gear. Dublin Aerospace has the capacity to process 70 aircraft, 400 APUs, and 250 landing gear annually.*
Last year in Madrid, about a dozen attendees had the opportunity to tour the Iberia Maintenance facility the morning after the conference. The site visit was viewed as a highlight of the event by those who participated, and it was generally agreed that there was great information and ideas to be taken away from the tour. Many participants suggested MARPA hold a similar event this year, and we are pleased to partner with Dublin Aerospace to bring our conference attendees this opportunity.
Don’t miss out on a great chance to meet with your current and potential new customers, and to take a tour of a leading MRO facility. Register for the 2017 MARPA EMEA Conference in Dublin today, and we look forward to seeing you in there!
For more information about Dublin Aerospace, visit: http://dublinaerospace.com/
For more information about the MARPA EMEA Conference, visit: http://www.pmaparts.org/EMEAconference/about.shtml
Questions? Email MARPA Senior Program Manager Katt Brigham at email@example.com.
*Credit: Dublin Aerospace at http://dublinaerospace.com/grid-12/.
On March 2, MARPA had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2017 Aviation Summit in Washington, DC. The event featured addresses and panels by the presidents and CEOs of aerospace industry leading operators, manufacturers, and service providers. Although the focus was primarily on operational issues affecting air carriers like Open Skies, airport infrastructure, and air traffic control, there were a couple of points raised by speakers that are relevant to MARPA members and the PMA industry.
During the manufacturing panel, HEICO Corporation Co-President and past MARPA Annual Conference keynote speaker Eric Mendelson, discussed the importance of choice and competition without which it becomes difficult for carriers to operate cost effectively. He used the decrease in suppliers relied upon by Boeing for successive new aircraft to illustrate the challenges facing both operators and aftermarket parts manufacturers, as competition becomes more and more restricted. He noted that the original 777 had three engine options, and approximately 17 component suppliers provided 75% of components. For the 787, those numbers fell to two engine options, and about four component suppliers for 75% of components. In the case of the new 777 there will be only one engine option and fewer still component suppliers.
This on-going reduction in suppliers means that operators face fewer and fewer choices both at the initial purchase stage and in terms of maintenance over the life of the product. This also means that those suppliers have a great deal of leverage in locking operators into long-term service agreements, which threaten PMA manufacturers.
In order to fight this phenomenon, it is vitally important that our customers be educated through their organizations as to the value of ensuring PMA is viable replacement part option, to ensure that they aren’t locking themselves into unfavorable maintenance agreements that needlessly restrict their replacement part options and drive up their costs. This will become even more important if fuel prices begin to rise, causing operators to look more aggressively for areas to realize cost savings.
Another interesting point was made later in the day, by Dennis Muilenburg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Boeing. He noted the importance of the Ex-Im Bank to financing export of US-manufactured goods, and stated that there is approximately $30 billion in deals merely awaiting the Ex-Im Bank’s board to reach a quorum. This requires one more confirmed nominee (currently, only 2 of the 5 seats are filled, and a quorum is required to approve deals over $10 million).
Although MARPA’s members aren’t generally making deals that require that level of financing from Ex-Im, having Ex-Im move out of limbo would be valuable for MARPA’s members. We’ve talked previously at conferences about the various ways the Ex-Im Bank can support MARPA’s members in exporting goods to credit-worthy customers abroad who may otherwise lack the cash flow to complete a large purchase. If Boeing’s willingness to throw its weight behind Ex-Im results in securing the stability of the bank for the future, the benefits would ripple out to the rest of the industry. This is something we will be keeping an eye on.
If you have questions about how Ex-Im can be leveraged help your PMA business, don’t hesitate to let MARPA know.
MARPA has been asked to sign onto a letter supporting a bill that would repeal Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that relates to estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. The Bill is entitled the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017.
Although it is typically thought of as only affecting the very wealthy, the estate tax can also have an effect on small and family-owned businesses; particularly those that are land- or asset-rich but cash poor. One oft-cited example is that of the family farmer, whose is land-rich (the value of his real property is high) but operating on very thin margins and doesn’t have a large amount of cash saved or other liquid assets. The family of the farmer may be forced to sell off a piece of the farm land in order to raise the money to pay the estate tax assessed against the total value of the farm upon the farmer’s death.
More close to home, in the aviation industry, companies may have millions of dollars in inventory that would be counted toward the value of a family business owner’s estate. This sort of inventory often cannot be quickly liquidated upon a business owner’s death to cover an estate tax assessed against the value of the business (that includes that inventory). Additionally, because many companies rely on their inventory as collateral against which to take out loans or lines of credit, they cannot simply depreciate the value of the inventory to zero to minimize the value of the business for estate tax purposes, or they risk also minimizing the apparent value of the business as a whole.
On the other hand, many people feel that the estate tax is something that only effects the very wealthy and thus repeal should not be a high priority (or a priority at all).
I would like to hear what our members think. Is a letter supporting the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 something MARPA should sign on to? We have been asked to respond by Monday, January 23, so please let us know what you think before then. You can email your thoughts to MARPA’s VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those readers of the MARPA blog who have attended a MARPA Annual Conference in the past two years probably heard the FAA’s David Hempe give a presentation discussing the transformation currently underway at the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) division. As we have previously discussed here and elsewhere, the goal of this transformation is to shift AIR from a compliance-based certification strategy (wherein an applicant makes a showing and the FAA issues a finding on a one-for-one basis) to an oversight-based certification strategy (wherein the FAA focuses more broadly on standards and systems oversight in order to ensure applicants are remaining compliant). Mr. Hempe’s presentations have provided a great deal of information and insight into this transformation, and MARPA is grateful for his participation and willingness to answer conference attendee questions over the course of the conference.
Obviously, such a transformation will require change by industry; but more importantly the FAA understands that it will also require a culture shift within the agency itself to reflect this change away from a compliance model toward an oversight model. To that end, the FAA has offered a briefing to applicants and approval holders (those who will be affected by the AIR transformation) to offer an update on where the transition stands and what to expect as AIR reorganizes.
The briefing first notes the benefits of the AIR transformation. These are worth reiterating:
The next step in reorganization implementation will be the first step visible to industry. AIR will begin realigning the organization to shift the existing offices, like ACOs and MIDOs out of the current directorate structure and into alignment with AIR’s functional divisions. For instance, ACOs will all be aligned under the Compliance & Airworthiness Division, while MIDOs will align under the System Oversight Division. Currently, both ACOs and MIDOs are spread across the Transport Directorate, Small Airplane Directorate, Engine and Propeller Directorate, and Rotorcraft Directorate. This creates significant unnecessary redundancy and confusion, particularly if a company designs and manufactures parts for different categories of products.
After realignment, the Directorate structure will no longer exist.
Because of the nature of the process, existing industry Points of Contact will be retained during realignment to ensure relationships are maintained and contact with appropriate employees is facilitated. This is an important feature because as with every transition there exists the possibility for confusion.
AIR will continue to brief industry on the transition and solicit industry feedback as it progresses. MARPA encourages you to maintain a consistent dialogue with your FAA contacts to let them know about any problems with the transition or implementation that you identify, particularly if it the transition messages don’t seem to be reaching the personnel you deal with regularly. MARPA would also be happy to hear feedback from our members so that we can bring any concerns or positive feedback from you to the FAA. Please feel free to email VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard at email@example.com if you have feedback on the AIR transformation process.
For years MARPA has talked about opportunities that exist for PMA manufacturers willing to look for non-traditional customers. One of the most under-appreciated possibilities, and one that MARPA President Jason Dickstein has emphasized, is to act as a supplier to OEMs. OEMs are very often massive companies with a need for quality, reliable suppliers, and many MARPA members are ideally positioned to take advantage of OEM purchasing needs with high quality approved parts on the shelf and ready to ship.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is presenting a program on becoming a supplier to Embraer. Because many PMA companies are already manufacturing parts for Embraer aircraft, this may be an excellent opportunity to broaden your customer base for your Embraer parts.
The program will begin with a presentation made by Embraer representatives on how to initiate a relationship with Embraer. This presentation will be made by webinar on October 28, 2016. Participation in this introductory webinar is a mandatory part of the program, so if this is something your company may even be remotely interested in, you should plan to register and participate.
Interested companies will then be asked to fill out an online questionnaire from which Embraer engineers will evaluate companies and select suppliers for a second round of webinar discussions with Embraer’s engineering department. Embraer may then invite select companies for a further in-depth interview.
There is no cost to participate in this program, and it presents an opportunity to potentially expand parts sales. MARPA has often said that OEMs should be thought of as no different than air carriers from a customer perspective: they need parts, and we manufacture and sell great parts. This could be an excellent opportunity for MARPA members to diversify their customer base.
If this opportunity sounds like something your company may be interested in, you can register for the mandatory introductory webinar at the following link: http://2016.export.gov/california/losangelesdowntown/events/embraer/eg_us_ca_102435.asp.
As part of its ongoing drive to increase the export of U.S.-made PMA parts and increase global knowledge and understanding of PMA, MARPA has in the past few years traveled to Japan to speak with potential customers, government contacts, and manufacturing partners. MARPA is happy to announce that it will continue these efforts this year at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition 2016, in Tokyo, Japan, October 12-15.
We have worked closely with long-time MARPA member and MARPA supporter Akira “Jay” Kato of JK Tech Consulting to make valuable contacts in Japan and discuss PMA at a very high level with Japanese customers and government officials. These efforts include both explaining and educating air carriers and their purchasing groups about PMA, as well as, importantly, promoting the use of PMA by discussing the safety, value, and reliability PMA provides.
These efforts are one prong of MARPA’s ongoing MDCP efforts supported by the U.S. International Trade Administration.
MARPA hopes to continue to make valuable contacts in the Japanese aviation community, and particularly to make additional inroads on behalf of the PMA industry with customers in Japan.
While MARPA always enthusiastically promotes the benefits of PMA where ever it goes, we would like to be able to provide a more targeted benefit to our members. We would therefore like to offer to our members the opportunity to display your marketing literature in the MARPA booth at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition. This will allow us to direct visitors at the MARPA booth to those members who can best serve their needs or might be an ideal partner for future business.
If you would like to have your literature displayed in the MARPA booth this October in Tokyo, please contact Senior MARPA Program Manager Katt Brigham at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 30.
As our members know, MARPA has been working over the past two years with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) under its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP). Under the MDCP the ITA provided MARPA a $300,000 matching grant to help MARPA promote PMA around the world with the ultimate goal of increasing exports of U.S.-made PMA parts, with the additional benefit of potentially adding U.S. jobs.
One of the conditions of MARPA’s receipt of the MDCP grant is that we are required to report back to ITA on the increase in exports our members are seeing. These reports allow the ITA to demonstrate the results of the program to Congress and keep open the funding to support increasing U.S. exports in various industries around the world.
This requirement is why we need our members’ help. We need to hear from you to know if MARPA’s efforts are working, and if the PMA industry is seeing an increase in export sales. MARPA therefore needs your help in gathering data on new exports of PMA parts.
MARPA is always sensitive to its members’ business needs, so we want to assure you that any information provided to us will be kept confidential, and the only information that is shared with ITA will be the country of export and the value of the export, and no other sensitive business information or data.
We are asking that our members fill out the export survey found by following this link. MARPA needs to know the following information: for any exports that are traceable to a MARPA effort under the MDCP–the MARPA Europe Conference, the domestic MARPA Annual Conference, MARPA’s presence and promotion at trade shows around the world–to what country was the export (or contract for future sales), and what was the value of the export or future export?
That’s it! Just country and dollar value. We don’t need to know your customer’s name, the specific parts or product type involved, or any other detail. Even your company’s name will be kept anonymous unless you expressly tell us to release it to ITA.
If you wish to provide MARPA additional information so that we can better focus our efforts, of course we welcome it. But we only need for the sake of our MDCP requirements a report on export country and dollar value.
Please help MARPA fulfill its obligations to ITA under the MDCP. The ITA was generous in supporting MARPA with this grant so that we can increase our efforts to expand the global PMA market. MARPA needs to make good on its requirement to report back on our efforts and help ITA keep this valuable program going!
If you have questions about MARPA’s reporting obligations under the MDCP or wish to report export data directly rather than by using the survey form, feel free to email VP of Government and Industry Affairs Ryan Aggergaard directly at email@example.com. MARPA sincerely thanks our members in advance for their help!
MARPA had the opportunity this week to attend the 2016 FAA-EASA International Aviation Safety Conference that was held in Washington, DC. The conference provides an opportunity for the regulatory agencies and industry to get together to discuss emerging issues in aviation safety and strengthen the cooperation between both the regulators themselves as well as the regulators and industry.
One notable panel discussed performance-based regulations (PBR) and their development, implementation and oversight as a part of the ongoing safety management adoption. The goal of PBR is essentially to retain the high level requirements and clearly establish what those high-level regulations are trying to achieve, while clearing out more detailed prescriptive regulations. Those detailed regulations would then be replaced by industry consensus standards.
In theory, this should clear the way for innovation by focusing more on ensuring a satisfactory outcome (that complies with the regulations) is the result, rather than focusing on prescriptive compliance-based rules. (How this exactly squares with a safety management system focused on systems and processes rather than the outcome per se is a conversation for another day.) Performance-based regulations can free the hands of regulated parties and avoid the trap of innovation stagnation in which companies are forced to design or produce in only limited ways in order to comply with the regulations.
Although moving to a PBR approach may be a laudable goal, the next panel demonstrated how challenging it may be for regulators to break free of deeply ingrained compliance-based approaches to oversight. Relevant to PMA manufacturers, the “fast-moving technologies” panel spent a significant amount of time discussing certification of projects using additive manufacturing techniques.
In theory, a PBR approach would be ideal for approving parts manufactured using emerging technology like additive manufacturing (AM). If a part can be produced using AM techniques (like 3D printing) that meets all the design requirements (dimensions, material composition, durability, etc) of a part that is traditionally machined, an outcome-focused approach like PBR claims to be should have no problem approving that part. Conversely, if a 3D printed part cannot be made to conform to the approved design, our quality assurance systems reject the part and we go back to the drawing board.
However, it became clear during that panel that we can expect to see more of the same compliance based review of processes in seeking to obtain approval of parts manufactured using emerging technologies like AM. Of course to borrow from Captain Renault I was shocked, SHOCKED to find that the OEM panelist expressed skepticism that “sub-tier” suppliers or those in the aftermarket were capable of producing approved parts using these methods. But of greater concern was his statement that the regulators might also question that ability.
Part of this concern on the part of the regulators arises from the fact that the regulators themselves do not fully understand technologies like AM yet. The FAA is currently working with industry to determine what controls will need to be in place and what the oversight requirements will be with respect to AM. It will therefore be very important for any PMA manufacturer seeking to use new techniques to manufacture parts to engage the FAA early in the process and demonstrate to the FAA its competence with the technique. This may involve educating the FAA in some cases (and refuting the implications of some larger OEMs that only they know the “special sauce” of new technology).
This much was supported by FAA AIR-1 Dorenda Baker, when she explained that the key to getting approval when relying on new technology is ensuring an understanding on both sides. The FAA needs to be brought into the process very early on. When the FAA is brought in at the last minute, problems and confusion can arise, because what might seem clear to the applicant, who has been working with the technology for months or even years, can seem confusing to the regulator seeing it in action for the first time. Ms. Baker explained that we don’t want questions being asked for the first time, or engineers trying to understand new processes, at the time of certification. We, as applicants relying on new manufacturing techniques, need to engage the FAA early and often.
Of course this is somewhat inconsistent with a performance-based approach. As we mentioned above, if the goal of PBR is to ensure an outcome that satisfies high-level regulations, it should be less important how we get to the result than that we obtain a satisfactory result. A need on behalf of the regulator to understand fully the processes by which we obtain the result is more consistent with systems oversight (their stated goal) but doesn’t square perfectly with a PBR approach.
Nonetheless, it thus becomes clear that the PMA industry will have to fight this battle of fast moving technology on two fronts: First, we will have to (again) battle against an OEM-driven (mis)perception that only OEMs are capable of understanding and safely applying emerging technologies like additive manufacturing. Second, we will have to work very closely with the regulators to continuously demonstrate our competence and expertise in applying these technologies, and in effectively implementing systems that consistently produce the desired outcome.
There is a lot happening right now; from fundamental shifts in the role regulators play to the way we design and manufacture parts. By frequently engaging with the regulators we are able demonstrate our competence and abilities (simultaneously refuting any implications by competitors to the contrary) and keep the regulators closely engaged so that the certification process moves smoothly and we are able to nimbly adapt to changes as they happen.
MARPA will continue to keep you updated as old regulations change and new regulations emerge.