Bii.aero, a leading provider of aircraft parts, repairs and services for the commercial, governmental/military and rotary aviation sector, has appointed Ian Foster as MRO Director. Foster will focus his significant global network of closely audited repair vendors and knowledge of contracted programmes, to broaden Bii’s reach and compete effectively in highly cost-sensitive marketplace.
Bii has recently purchased a Boeing 737-800 aircraft (MSN28381) which was previously owned by lessor Aircastle and operated by Indonesian carrier, Sriwijaya. The material generated is designed to deliver a regular throughput of certified rotables, with all repairs managed by Foster and his team at Bii. Streamlining processes and supervising workshop repairs during a period of supply-chain uncertainty due to COVID-19 has been challenging he says, but establishing relationships and building trust is key. “The repair network we have created has been underpinned by our own requirements throughout this teardown project. We have negotiated fixed-price agreements across a wide spectrum of part numbers and that is the bedrock of a compelling service for our existing customers and new prospects.”
As flights pick up slowly across the global route network, operators remain extremely cost-conscious. “Air travel will return. By acting early and with flexibility, aircraft support companies like Bii can help airlines better adapt to the changing demands of the whole travel industry. With prolonged uncertainty over supply, demand, and the availability of resources, COVID-19 will be the trigger for many operators to transform” he says.
“Price is the first thing that airline and governmental purchasing teams look at when sourcing repairs. But that’s only part of the picture. Dig deeper and the lowest quote will often have the highest number of exclusions and limited warranties. Balancing price with value for money is not straightforward. We’re seeing increased demand for ‘big picture’ repair support coming from engineering and maintenance teams that are taking the time to look more closely at fleet optimisation, lease returns and expenditure across the board.”
Bii.aero is personalising repair programmes for portfolios of part numbers. “We’re encouraging our customers to do that rather than pick off one part at a time individually” continues Foster. “It’s a way that Bii can add value through experience, and also keep costs down. During this pandemic repair volumes have decreased worldwide and many workshops are struggling. We can support them with regular throughput if they are sensible with a flat rate for those repairs. That’s a win win for everyone.”
Bii.aero has seen evidence of governments and military customers being willing to look beyond their standard lists of approved suppliers and OEMs, to achieve a faster response, flexible service and keener pricing structure. “Although these customers have been more cushioned from the impact of COVID-19 than commercial operators, we have seen a shift in attitudes and it’s not just about cost. It’s about understanding the parameters of their particular fleet and optimum utilisation patterns. We are currently fulfilling an ad hoc need but also rekindling many of Bii’s historic partnerships and we’re happy to build repair volumes slowly.”
Prior to joining Bii.aero, Ian Foster was MRO Manager at AJW Aviation and before that he was Jet Spares Manager at BAE Systems.