TAE Aerospace adds third US MRO company to its stable

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 5, 2019
A file image of an Ag aircraft. (TAE Aerospace)
A file image of an Ag aircraft. (TAE Aerospace)

Queensland defence and commercial aviation engineering and maintenance company TAE Aerospace has made its third foray into the US market with the purchase of Ag Air Turbines.

The acquisition of the Idaho-based maintenance, overhaul and repair (MRO) company follows recent deals to buy Arizona-based Copper State Turbine Engine Company and Missouri-based Propulsion Controls Company earlier in 2019.

TAE Aerospace chief executive, Andrew Sanderson said combining the strengths of the US businesses with the company’s experience with the Honeywell TPE331 (turboprop) engine in the Asia Pacific region put the company in the best position globally to look after those engines for operators.

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Further, Sanderson said the three US companies were reputed for their maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work on the engine and its associated fuel controls and components.

“We are now recognised by Honeywell as the world’s largest authorised TPE331 provider and we are also the only licensed repair facility in the world for both the Woodward and Honeywell fuel controls fitted to this engine,” Sanderson said in a statement on August 1.

Between the US and Australian facilities, Sanderson said TAE Aerospace could now service engine models of the TPE331 as well as repair engine part pieces and assemblies, fuel controls and LRU (line replacement units) components.

“Accessing all these capabilities from one place is a big advantage for operators around the world who rely on fast turnaround to get back to business and keep flying,” Sanderson said.

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As a result of its US expansion, TAE Aerospace also announced it has established separate divisions to run its Asia-Pacific and US operations under the TAE Aerospace brand.

The company said Paul Morris would run its APAC division, while Larry Lowry would be in charge of the US division. Sanderson would continue to to lead the global TAE Aerospace group.

Lowry said said the acquisition of Ag Air Turbines brought valuable market knowledge to its US business, noting that TAE serviced 90 per cent of the Australian agricultural operators with TPE331 engines.

“Ag Air Tubines’ existing customers will also benefit from the wider range of services we can provide, including PT6 engine and component MRO,” Lowry said.

The former owner of Ag Air Turbines Katie Bane will lead the new US ag division of TAE Aerospace, along with her husband Garrett Bane and her father Bruce Hubler. She said the sale to TAE gave the business the capacity to offer more support to customers.

TAE Aerospace employed about 350 staff across across its US and Australian sites. The latest US acquisition brings to five the number of sites it has in the US, the other two being in Anchorage, Alaska and New Braunfels in Texas. It has Australian sites in Ipswich, Brisbane, Adelaide, Williamtown and Melbourne.

Air New Zealand sold the TAE business to its Australian management team in 2015.

TAE Aerospace's Larry Lowry and Ag Air Turbines' Katie and Garrett Bane. (TAE Aerospace)
TAE Aerospace’s Larry Lowry and Ag Air Turbines’ Katie and Garrett Bane. (TAE Aerospace)

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