Air Transport World

Shaping up in Shannon. (Shannon Aerospace's aircraft maintenance facility; includes a related article on Aer Lingus)

SHANNON--The floor is clean in the maintenance hangar and spotless in the paint hangar. Wet-paint signs abound, docks are being assembled, placards are hung, stock rooms are filling up. This maintenance facility is ready for business.

As the horse race for third-party maintenance gets increasingly frenzied, a new entry has slipped into the field. What would seem to be poor timing for most is not all that bad for Shannon Aerospace, as this entry has a fine pedigree and some degree of certainty about its flow of business. Its parents and the source of this business flow are the highly skilled maintenance airlines Lufthansa and Swissair, plus airplane-rich GPA.

Shannon Aerospace was created to produce both a maintenance partnership arrangement and an independent business venture. Its degree of independence is strongly defended by Dr. Herbert Groeger, chief executive officer.

No priority, he said, is given to owning-partner aircraft, no special prices and no special slots. "The partners cannot interfere in our day-to-day operations," Groeger said. All contracts with partners or with GPA lessees "must be open-market deals."

While interference is out, influence is anticipated.

Shannon Aerospace was formed in 1989 to conduct airframe and small-component overhaul because, Groeger said, GPA wanted a facility it could influence to help support its leased fleet; Swissair wanted facilities it didn't have in Switzerland and Lufthansa wanted some help handling its overflow work. "It was a strategic decision, not just for a quick profit." Profit, however, is a target that Groeger believes can be achieved within three years of Shannon's September opening. "But first, we must prove we can do what we say we can do."

Part of his optimism for profit in dismal times stems from Shannon's ability to take the best attributes of two highly respected maintenance providers--Lufthansa and Swissair--and combine them in a new, ultramodern facility with few of the restraints existing in the old structure.

Shannon's management is drawn largely from its partners' maintenance operations-plus a few from GPA--forming a cadre of 50 or so managers that will swell to nearly 70 during the first overhauls. This cadre is to get the facility up and running, while training Irish management to take over eventually. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.