Jesús Navarro
Mexicana MRO Services
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Aviation Growth Drives Local MRO Operations

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 17:41

Q: How did Mexicana MRO Services capitalize on the growth of Mexican aviation in 2018?
A: In 2018, Mexicana MRO Services exceeded significantly its sales results of 2017 without increasing the size of its hangar at AICM. By improving our MRO processes and adding new capabilities, we increased sales by 19 percent and provided minor and major maintenance to more aircraft than before. Mexicana MRO also achieved the successful conversion of four Boeing 767 passenger aircraft to freighter planes. Mexicana MRO Services has signed the agreements necessary to start converting the new generation of Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 passenger planes to cargo aircraft. We have improved the tools in our shop, adapted storage and production control points and offered new training to our staff so Mexicana MRO Services can convert its first B737 in April 2019.
Q: What prompted Mexicana MRO Services to start offering B737 passenger-to-cargo conversions?
A: Our decision resulted from the rising demand for freighter planes to cover short and medium-haul cargo operations. Smaller freighter planes allow for more efficient cargo distribution over short distances and have become the second-largest segment in cargo aircraft.
Q: What are the main target markets for Mexicana MRO Services’ solutions?
A: Mexicana MRO Services has received 19 country aeronautics certifications, including FAA and EASA, that enable the company to service aircraft from countries that include the EU, Mexico, the US, El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Cuba. Latin America remains the most important market for Mexicana MRO Services. We work with the flagship operators and top carriers of several South and Central American countries, including Brazil’s Azul Airlines, Colombia’s Viva Air and Avianca, Equator’s Tame, Chile’s Sky Airline, Bolivia’s Boliviana de Aviación and LATAM Airlines, which has operations in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and other countries. In Mexico, we offer support to the four most important airlines: Aeroméxico, Interjet, Volaris and Viva Aerobus.
Q: What is Mexicana MRO Services’ strategy to differentiate from other MROs competing in the Mexican market?
A: We have several business lines that client airlines do not usually have in-house or cannot find in a single MRO. These include services such as line maintenance, major maintenance for both wide-body and narrow-body aircraft, conversion of both bodies from passenger to freighter plane, aircraft painting, total or partial repairs and testing of some aircraft components. There is no other MRO in Latin America that offers all these services, which makes us a one-stop solution for potential client operators. We can provide maintenance for the Airbus A320 and A330 families, the Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767 series and to Bombardier CRJ200 and Fokker 100 aircraft. In addition, we are the only aircraft shop in Mexico that has offered maintenance services for 98 years continuously. We hold 19 aeronautics repair-station certifications. This broad experience is a competitive advantage that no other MRO in the Mexican market can offer.
Mexicana MRO Services is collaborating with the Mexican federal government to earn the shop certification of the Canadian aviation authority. There is no shop in Latin America that is certified to service Canadian aircraft and in 2019, we expect to become the first.
Q: What are the company’s main growth expectations and expansion plans for 2019?
A: 2019 will be a transformational year for Mexicana MRO Services. The company has set itself the goal of growing around 10 percent in 2019 in terms of sales and serviced aircraft. We will focus on capitalizing on the potential opportunities that originated as a result of the new government’s policies. Despite the challenges resulting from AICM’s saturation, we grew 10 percent in January and February 2019 compared to the previous year thanks to the optimization of our production processes and the adoption of new technologies. We also plan to relaunch maintenance for the Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft.
Q: How will the simultaneous operation of a new airport in the Santa Lucia military base, AICM and the International Airport of Toluca (AIT) impact your operations?
A: The construction of a new airport in Santa Lucia and the simultaneous operation with AIT has little direct impact on Mexicana MRO Services’ operations. The saturation of AICM, however, poses several challenges for us because we are based in that airport. The lack of slots at AICM makes it difficult for Mexicana MRO Services to conduct test flights or clear and send off aircraft that have completed maintenance. These planes must often stand and wait until 3am for the control tower to assign them a slot and clear them for takeoff.
Q: What are the main factors that will boost growth in the Mexican aviation sector?
A: For the Mexican aviation industry to grow, it is necessary that leisure and business tourism grow as well. As long as the Mexican economy expands and business remains good, the aviation industry and Mexicana MRO Services will continue to prosper. More business opportunities translate to greater demand for flight tickets, which prompts airlines to increase their operations and incentivizes the purchase or leasing of new aircraft by operators. This, in turn, spurs demand for MRO services.
Q: What are the main differences between airline and independent MROs?
A: Being an independent MRO poses more challenges than the in-house MROs of airlines are used to facing. MROs like Delta-TechOps or Interjet MRO Solutions have a percentage of their operations secured because they are the go-to MRO for their parent airlines’ aircraft. These companies only need to attract outside aircraft to complement the remaining share of their maintenance operations. Independent MROs need to attract 100 percent of their customer base.
Q: What milestones have been reached toward solving the conflict between defunct carrier Mexicana and its union?
A: As a former business unit of Mexico’s defunct flagship airline Mexicana de Aviación, Mexicana MRO Services is currently for sale. The resources obtained from this transaction will be used to pay former Mexicana de Aviación workers, including the pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions.


Mexicana MRO Services provides line and major maintenance and aircraft conversions for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Fokker aircraft, as well as aircraft painting and component repairs. It was the first MRO to join ALTA