New Caledonian domestic airline, Air Calédonie, has developed its in-house MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) capability to perform ATR fleet heavy maintenance checks at its main base, avoiding the cost and delay to ferry its aircrafts overseas. “International flight restrictions have made it harder for airlines to ferry aircraft overseas for heavy maintenance checks, so some airlines in Asia Pacific have been working to develop their in-house MRO capability,” says Alessandro Luzi, managing director of ATR Eastern Support.
Air Calédonie, which is based in New Caledonia’s capital Nouméa, is a notable example, says Luzi, adding that the airline, which operates a fleet of four ATR 72-600s, recently completed its first ‘C-check’ on an ATR 72-600. The airline previously outsourced ATR 72-600 heavy maintenance overseas. The airline, however, is not new to the task, because prior to upgrading its fleet to ATR 72-600s, it performed heavy maintenance on its previous fleet of ATR 72-500s.
“When Air Calédonie decided to do its own heavy maintenance checks for its ATR 72-600s, we were there ready to support them. We helped them with full spare parts support, maintenance manuals, technical data and technical advice,” says Luzi. “The documentation that you need for carrying out a heavy maintenance check is huge, so we helped the airline’s maintenance team to digest and navigate through all the documentation.”
While some airlines are flying less, because of the pandemic, there continues to be demand for heavy maintenance. “Airlines want make use of the any downtime to complete maintenance work,” explains Luzi.
Air Caledonie CEO, Samuel Hnepeune, says: “I’m very proud of our technical team for the successful completion of our first ATR 72-600 maintenance check. Immediately afterward, another C-check was due to start, so our technicians are currently working on our second ATR 72-600 maintenance check.”
“Air Calédonie is able to manage such a project thanks to our highly skilled team, infrastructure and our European Aviation Safter Agency (EASA) certification for ATR 72-600 heavy maintenance,” says Hnepeune. “In the near future, we could provide other ATR operators in the Pacific region with heavy maintenance services. It has been a long-lasting important project for several years and it is becoming a reality now,” adds Hnepeune.