Air Transport World

UTA shows the way: Air France follows the model of its partner to become an efficient competitor in the aircraft overhaul business.

Air France follows the model of its partner to become an efficient competitor in the aircraft-overhaul business

PARIS -- A new big fish has turned up in the already-crowded and intensely competitive airline maintenance and overhaul pool. Air France has been there from the outset, of course, but has swum in a lazy fashion near the bottom, minding its own business. Now, it has become hungry and the other denizens--who have been fighting over what work there is--are looking behind themselves.

This radical change in policy by the maintenance arm of the French national carrier is bound up with the efforts of senior management, under Chairman Christian Blanc, to satisfy the EU that it is turning itself into a leaner and far more efficient organization to gain sanction for a $4 billion government bailout.

But the drive by Air France Industries to be a commercial as well as a technological entity and to erase industry conceptions of it as a high-cost overhauler, predates the 1994 airline reorganization. Bernard Combelles, AFI VP-marketing and sales, explained: "We had a good thing happen when AF merged with UTA [the main French private airline]. …

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