Stephen Fer, General Manager
More than a year has passed since the initial COVID-19 outbreak and the halt on global flying, but if one looks at the aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry, one would notice its drastic change in the last year and a half. “One of the major shifts in this regard was the move from less PBH (power-by-hour) MRO contracts to more flexible ad hoc options like provisioning, leasing, or exchanging of aircraft parts,” shares Stephen Fer, a reputed thought leader in the aircraft MRO space. In comparison to PBH contracts, where airliners have had to pay a fixed minimum amount to their MRO partners for the parts even when flights are suspended, adhoc services provide airliners with an opportunity to reduce their operational expenses amid a period of reduced—or completely halted—flying. And having realized the cost benefits of ad-hoc aircraft component services from trusted partners, many airliners are now planning to follow suit.
Another interesting shift happening in the MRO industry is the acceleration of digitalized MRO services. “Even though we have been talking about digitalization in the MRO sector for last few years, the pandemic has really catalyzed the demand for digital service delivery models,” adds Fer. Fortunately, these recent developments and expectations are paving the path for a new breed of MRO companies, like that of Fer’s company, STRADE, who can help the airliners stay abreast of any period of crisis similar to COVID-19 in the future.
STRADE is a new innovative entrepreneurial venture launched by the world-leading MRO service provider in the civil aviation industry, SR Technics Group. “Looking at the market trends and internal capabilities of SR Technics, we decided to start an independent venture that can cater to the changing MRO market demands,” says Fer, general manager of STRADE. As such, STRADE is built on the same DNA as SR Technics—for instance, a relent less focus on quality—but goes a step further to add a layer of digitalization on top of its traditional MRO services model.
“STRADE is currently gaining renown in the MRO market for its leading-edge ad-hoc aircraft component sales, leasing, and exchange services with a digital-first approach,” shares Fer.
High-Quality Aviation Leasing Services
Since mid-2020, STRADE has successfully cooperated with leading airlines, MROs, and component trading companies to support their asset requirements through flexible component package lease options. And to facilitate the same, STRADE has built a large components pool of hydraulic, pneumatic, and electric rotables for all major aeroplane models with attractive commercial conditions rates. Additionally, STRADE has made provisions for flexible lease duration and amount, making use of which its customers can change the contents of the lease depending on the operational requirements over time. Augmenting these capabilities even more, STRADE positions itself as a data-driven entity that leverages digital technologies to streamline communication, interaction, and transaction with its clients.
Under the Hood of Excellence
Another unique differentiator of STRADE is its worldwide workforce. Every individual working at STRADE is a true aerospace enthusiast and knows how aircraft, airline operations, and MRO supply chains work. Therefore, the company’s team can take a more personalized approach to help its clients. Fer also describes that the team spends a considerable amount of time developing close relationships with its clients, even if it is via Zoom or Skype. “Since the people in my team understand the procurement and engineering background of aircraft operations, we can naturally guide our clients to the best solution for their MRO needs,” states Fer.
At this juncture, Fer shares the story of Philippine Airlines, which recently leveraged STRADE’s flexible component package lease option. The airliner wanted to optimize its current component support, moving away from the traditional PBH contracts. For them, STRADE created a custom on-site component stock for leasing, and the client had the option to change the stocks several times as per requirements over the contract duration. “So it was a very flexible solution, and we could only manage this because we had the right inventory in the region, i.e., in our Kuala Lumpur warehouse. This saved considerable component transportation time and cost for the Philippine Airlines,” recalls Fer. The client now has a steady and transparent cost base because of the lease packages offered by STRADE.
With many such success stories under its hood, right now, STRADE is growing as a successful new-fangled company. It is therefore constantly looking to leverage new technologies, like machine learning and blockchain technology to enhance its technical capabilities further. Nevertheless, Fer explains that the company’s corporate culture will always have the DNA of SR Technics to define every step STRADE takes. “We have a strategic roadmap on the MRO service areas from customer onboarding and engagement to product delivery. And we are infusing it with digital capabilities to balance data-driven MRO services with a personal touch,” underscores Fer. At the same time, STRADE is also planning to make sustainability a big part of its daily activities. “From going paperless to focusing more on recycled material, we are ready to play our role in building the sustainable aviation of the future,” concludes Fer.