Click below for data links:
DAS-AER LINGUS MAINTENANCE - 2011-12
Formed in 2009 and started operations in 2010. Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) company.
January 2012: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) has signed a three-year (APU) maintenance contract with Europe Airpost (EUE), covering its 737C fleet from January 1, 2012.
February 2012: Maintaining quality maintenance is never easy. A little Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) company in Ireland is showing how it can be done, as Roy Allen, "Airline Maintenance" reports.
He had other things on his mind, but if one Barak Obama had been able to look across Dublin Airport to a particular group of hangars on his Presidential trip, back in May of last year, he would have been looking at Ireland’s latest aviation success story. Hangars 1, 4 and 5 constitute the home of Dublin Aerospace (DAS), an (MRO) company only in its third year of trading but which is expanding its operations, taking on staff – and actually earning profits. Two million Euros/$2.8 million has already been invested this year in an upgrading program and 2012 will see further substantial expansion.
Quality airplane maintenance has been carried out at Dublin Airport for many years, with home Irish airline Aer Lingus (ARL) originally the prime customer, but all this work appeared to dry up in 2009 when Arab-owned major player SR Technics (SWS) closed down its entire Irish operations. One-time, Aer Lingus (ARL) Maintenance Technician (MT), Conor McCarthy reflected on the empty hangars and skilled redundant workforce and saw this as an opportunity. He approached a group of likely investors that included Tony Fernandes (CEO) of Air Asia (ASW), the European Aeronautic Defense & Space (EADS), Santos Dumont Leasing, Enterprise Ireland and a number of private individuals, and in August 2009 reached agreement with SR Technics (SWS) to purchase some of the assets. With leases secured on the hangars required at Dublin Airport, Dublin Aerospace (DAS) was born, and this was followed in October 2009 by approvals for (EASA) Part 145 and Transport Canada, with (FAA) certification in March 2010.
“It was all down to Conor McCarthy,” said Frank Burke, Head of Sales & Marketing, “He saw the possibilities and pulled together a group of investors for the project, which is so far turning out very well.” Indeed. In offering a range of services for the industry covering repair and overhaul of (APU)s, landing gears and base maintenance work and concentrating on narrow body airplanes, that is, the 737/A320, sector, the belief was that the European market could offer a range of potential customers, this market now being very substantial. In the company’s first year of operation, 2010, this proved so, with an overhaul contract from XL Airways of Germany (SGU) and a very helpful contract for 12 heavy "C" checks from Aer Lingus (ARL). Dublin Aerospace (DAS) also gained contracts for overhaul work from leasing companies (GECAS) (GEF), (RBS) Leasing, (ILFC) (ILF) and the (CIT) Group (TCI), and a major contract from easyJet (EZY) for the overhaul of 95 sets of A319 landing gears over a six year period. Since then, however, clients from farther horizons have been joining the client base with a contract for 737 landing gear work from Ukraine International Airways (UKR) and one from Air Seychelles (ASY) for the overhaul and loan of 331-200 (APU)s fitted to its 767 fleet. More recently, JetTime Airlines (JTM) of Denmark has contracted for the overhaul of the (APU)s fitted to its 737 fleet.
For many major (MRO) companies internationally, this collection of contracts might be seen as everyday business, gained routinely, but such companies invariably have a long-established client base and a major airline to serve. The point about Dublin Aerospace (DAS) is that it has been doing well from the start, with little or no assets save a few hangars and a skilled available workforce eager to please - and no contracts. It is still a small company, with no more than <150 staff and limited business activities, but there is an evident readiness to do well for customers while demonstrating quality workmanship. Frank Burke said “We work according to low-cost model concepts and we also operate Lean manufacturing techniques, which are paramount these days. We have invested two million Euros in 2011 in upgrading the landing gear facility and plating shop and we have a test cell now. We’ll also be investing in various other building work projects on the hangars. We do as well as we can for our customers, the Aer Lingus (ARL) "C" check work as an example; we delivered the final airplane one week earlier than contracted.” Another innovation has been the creation of a comprehensive Technical Training School, a fairly major move for a fledgling (MRO) company but which is also seen as a guarantee for the future.
Expanding on the Training School and the company’s business success to date, Dublin Aerospace (DAS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Donal Rogers told "Aviation Maintenance" “A lot of the staff here are ex-SR Technics (SWS) and they were certainly glad to see the creation of Dublin Aerospace (DAS). They also like the new set-up, and we have established an internal administration to allow them to talk to me directly if they want to. We make decisions very quickly because things change so quickly in this business,” says Rogers. “At this stage we can get qualified employees as we wish, but we have a number of apprenticeships in being and we have just started a new trainee program, basically looking ahead. As we grow, we will need more people, so looking four or five years ahead we’ve started the trainee program with one of the government agencies. Dublin Airport has a history where people have been trained very well and gone through the organization, so we have re-started that with a different type of program called a Traineeship. People will have the opportunity to advance and gain licences. Trainees will be paid and if they are on site they will get a payment; its really training them to be qualified.”
“If we have any secrets for success,” Rogers continued, “I’d say No 1 comes from the quality of the people working in the organization. It’s not just the quality of their workmanship but also their attitude and frame of mind: Do they feel a part of the company? Do they feel that it is their company? They will go that extra mile by knowing that they will actually share in the rewards, the profits from the company’s success. That’s the key to it, which is why we’ve got a profit-sharing scheme, where we share a proportion of the profits with the employees. And then No 2 is having a competitive labor structure, for Ireland’s labor rates, like a lot of European countries, got out of touch with reality. That brings it down to the quality of the product, and if your quality is poor you don’t get customers coming back. We charge what we consider a fair price for good quality and we don’t take on contracts we could lose money on. We’re not concerned with volume or market share but we need to make money to re-invest. That, simply, is how we’re doing it.”
For newly-born Dublin Aerospace (DAS) an obvious problem was bringing in the first clients. Rogers explained, “The main challenge was and is getting new customers in for the first time. Once they come in and see the way they are treated, the quality of the work and the pricing we can get repeat business, but it remains true that you’re only as good as the last work that you do for a customer. As it happens, all of the customers that have been to us are providing repeat business, and we’re now servicing effectively most of the leasing companies, like (ILFC) (ILF), (GECAS) (GEF) etc. End of lease work is difficult and our people have handled that really well.
July 2012: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) said it has concluded re-delivery checks on eight A320s on behalf of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) (ILF). Work included structural inspections, cabin re-configurations, engine changes, and landing gear changes.
August 2013: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) will provide (APU) maintenance on 757s for Bahrain’s (DHL) (DHX) Maintenance Engineering (ME) for 5 years.
September 2013: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) will provide landing-gear maintenance for Sunwing Airlines (SWG)’s 737-800s.
December 2013: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) has completed "C" checks on three Nova Airlines (A K A Novair (NOO)) Airbus A321s.
February 2014: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) has been selected to carry out a "C" check on an Atlantic Airways (FLI) Airbus A319.
July 2014: Dublin Aerospace (DAS) has added Airbus A330 base maintenance to its offerings, following approval from the European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) and the (FAA).