Bo Lump, VP of Sales
Right now, the COVID-19-stricken world is going through its ultimate stress test. The crisis is forcing businesses across various sectors to shift their gears into survival mode. Take the aviation industry, for example. To cope with reduced flying and simultaneously optimize their global fleets, many airlines are planning to send 2,500 plus aircraft to their early retirement in 2020. And, the ripple effect of this decision is being noticed across the entire aviation supply chain—which is subsequently disrupting the aircraft and parts trading market. The mass retirement of old fleets, combined with the recent drop in MRO activities, is plummeting the demand for used serviceable materials (USMs). Nevertheless, the aviation industry thought leaders expect the demand of USMs to be on an upward trajectory in the post- COVID-19 world. According to the experts, once flying and material spend resumes, airlines will be laser-focused on lowering their material costs. As a result, the gargantuan inventory of aircraft that is now being available for teardown will soon hold immense value in the post-COVID USM market. Among these, the narrow body airliner segment—such as Airbus A320 or Boeing 737NG—will see more demand than their widerbody counterparts like Airbus A380 and Boeing 777.
On that front, the industry-recognized, air transport aftermarket maven that is poised to help airlines prepare for the future and correctly ascertain the value of their aging fleet with an optimal exit strategy is ITS (Infinity Trading & Solutions). The company is providing fleet retirement strategies to global airlines through a consignment-based approach. This approach is meant to serve the narrow body planes, especially, that are still being flown by airlines that own them, as well as the global fleet. “It would bring additional returns for decommissioned aircraft apart from just traditionally buying or selling an aircraft,” underscores Bo Lump, VP of Sales at ITS.
So, what does an ITS fleet retirement program entail? The entire process is managed by an experienced team, starting as soon as an aircraft becomes available for retirement. ITS then coordinates with the airliner for piloting the aircraft to its final destination. Once in possession of the aircraft, ITS dismembers all its crucial parts and performs a physical inspection to obtain a clear picture of the teardown value. “At this stage, we look at the best material to harvest from the aircraft to maximize return margins and profits for the airline,” shares Lump. After the evaluation process is complete, ITS gets in touch with its global pre-certified repair vendors to get the necessary components repaired and in stock for aftermarket sale. “At every stage, we provide all the necessary details to our clients, so they are assured that the specific part of their aircraft is being used for its intended purposes,” mentions Lump.
To elucidate the approach further, Lump shares a recent case study when a particular airline approached ITS to have an aircraft decommissioned. The client also wanted to reuse some critical components from the aircraft for supporting its ongoing operations. After bringing the aircraft in, ITS went through a stringent process of disassembling and appropriately assessing the aircraft’s reusable components. The client decided to repair some of the needed parts to support their additional supply chain needs. Repair management is another value-add solution ITS offers.
Beyond fleet material consignment programs, ITS also operates an on-site 24/7/365 AOG (Aircraft On Ground) department. Particularly, as airlines are struggling, it’s more imperative than ever to have quick access to critical materials in order to keep their aircraft functional, ITS’ AOG team strives to respond and solve any AOG requests by providing worldclass customer service and support. The ITS 0n-site AOG team drives all stages of the transaction to be responsive, accurate, informative, and seamless, maintaining a 15-minute service level agreement with its operators.
Additionally, ITS is now offering PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) parts as an alternate solution for end-users. The company recently signed a partnership with Vogt Aero to be the exclusive distributor of its line of PMA parts for Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. The cost benefits of these parts will ensure that the airlines can operate at an optimized operational budget.
Today, ITS’ extensive experience in fleet retirement projects makes it a perfect choice for airline operators looking to procure replacement parts from decommissioned aircraft. Especially in terms of airframes and engines, ITS is a one-stop ‘nose-to-tail’ supplier of individual components, complex systems, and tailored solutions for airlines, leasing companies, MROs, OEMs, and resellers around the globe. For this, the company leverages its knowledge of specific complex systems, auxiliary power unit, landing gear, and airframe structures across multiple aircraft. ITS caters to this market segment while maintaining best-of-breed technical records and complete back-to-birth traceability of the aircraft components.
Moving ahead, ITS’ plans entail expanding its global footprint. Apart from its headquarters in Chandler, AZ (U.S. operations); Dublin, Ireland (EMEA operations); and Johor Bahru, Malaysia (APAC operations), ITS intends to support its operations with additional branch offices in Lithuania, Africa, and Latin America.