Aviation sales and support company Hawker Pacific says it will conduct heavy maintenance checks on Alliance Aviation Services’ fleet of Fokker aircraft at its Cairns workshop.
Currently, Alliance sends its fleet of Fokker 70s and Fokker 100s to Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines Technik Bratislava, as well as KLM UK and Rolls-Royce for the heavy maintenance work.
Therefore, the agreement with Hawker Pacific gives the charter, fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) and regional operator an Australian provider of heavy maintenance checks, which involves stripping the aircraft and life-limited components, including engines, for detailed inspections and servicing.
“Having a local solution for heavy maintenance support will provide added reliability and availability for our fleet of aircraft, which ensures better support for our customers, and promotes job growth in Queensland,” Alliance chief executive Lee Schofield said in a statement on August 30.
Alliance did previously conduct heavy maintenance in Australia at its Brisbane workshop. However, the company decided in 2015 to send all aircraft to Europe for their regular heavy checks as part of a cost-reduction effort.
It continues to perform line maintenance, which covers tasks such as regular daily checks, general servicing and repairing/replacing broken parts, at its various bases around Australia, as well as in Auckland, New Zealand.
Agreement with Hawker Pacific comes amid a period of growth
In recent years, Alliance has made significant strides in broadening its operations from fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) work to boost revenue in areas such as tourism, aircraft sales, wet and dry leasing and spare parts sales.
That has led to a significant increase in flying hours and fleet growth, as the company commenced regular public transport (RPT) flights in regional Queensland which are sold as Virgin Australia codeshare services, signed contracts with United States tour operator Tauck and Japanese travel company JTB.
Alliance has also strengthened its position in the FIFO market through a partnership with Virgin Australia that received Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approval in May 2017.
The company said in its 2018/19 full-year results presentation total flight hours rose 9.9 per cent to a record 38,326 hours in 2018/19, compared with 34,612 hours in the prior corresponding period. The bulk of the increase was in wet lease flying.
At June 30 2019, Alliance’s fleet comprised five Fokker 50s, 10 Fokker 70s and 23 Fokker 100s.
And looking ahead, the company said it expected to add two Fokker 100s and five Fokker 70s in the current financial year. These were the last of the 21 aircraft purchased from Austrian Airlines in 2015.
In July 2019, Alliance purchased five Fokker 100s from Switzerland-based Helvetic Airways, as well as all tooling, spare engines and parts.
Hawker Pacific’s Cairns workshop performs heavy maintenance checks on commercial passenger turboprops from Bombardier and ATR, as well as some general aviation aircraft.
The company said it had increased the size of the Cairns workshop by 50 per cent in 2018 to enable local maintenance opportunities of turboprop and jet powered aircraft within the Asia Pacific region.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate Hawker Pacific’s ability to compete internationally on this aircraft type, and have every confidence that this heavy maintenance solution will achieve its desired result of keeping jobs in Queensland,” Hawker Pacific sales director for maintenance repair and overhaul in Australia Nev Evans said.
In August, Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the state government had launched a “new push” to grow its share of the aerospace MRO work in the Asia Pacific region.
The April 2019 edition of Australian Aviation included a feature story on recent trends in the global MRO sector. That story can be read here.