Air Transport World

LanChile's FAA-certified base. (Federal Aviation Administration certified airline maintenance facility completed)

SANTIAGO--LanChile needed nearly 20 years to bring its own modern maintenance base from conception to operational reality. By the time it was finally dedicated last November, many important events had changed the airline's profile.

When the station was conceived, the carrier was a state-owned company. Now, it is a mixed transnational state/privately owned corporation. Midway through the construction process, LanChile experienced trying times, coming close to bankruptcy (ATW, 2/92). And the corporate philosophy dramatically changed in the last two years.

The maintenance-base program survived and although the initial $6 million estimate tripled to $18 million, the company went ahead, through good and bad times. Now, the base is up and running as an autonomous business unit. Just starting to provide services, if must pave its own road to self-sufficiency.

"Since the very beginning, the base was designed to serve LanChile and to provide third-party services," says Oscar Prieto Pavez, engineering and maintenance manager. "For the next five years, LanChile will require 30% only for our hangar's capacity. So we have 70% available for third parties," he adds.

Three months before the station was completed, the airlines started its first maintenance-marketing program. …

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