US to EU: increasing opportunities for PMA

8f95ac647d6aa0e778a3a77e0c13c537A considerable untapped potential in PMA industry is just waiting for entrepreneurial spirits to come. Economic difficulties have pushed even the most resistant companies to consider using PMA parts in their aircraft which, as Mr. Carlos Fernandez, Sales Director, AeroKool, said, can allow cost savings of up to 50%. While Asian and South American markets are becoming much more acceptant to the idea of importing and using PMA parts, European PMA market is already standing at more than 35%. With the main supplier being small manufacturers in US, what PMA export trends may be seen in the near future?

BASA agreement allowed the majority of the US PMA parts to be utilised in the EU. Airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways started actively utilising PMA parts for its fleet of aircraft, says Visiongain, a business information provider. The need for PMA parts is not restricted to the expanding commercial airlines and MRO’s, as business aircraft and helicopters are also in higher demand than ever. „It’s only a matter of time until many of the remaining barriers come down, “says Mr. Fernandez referring to PMA import regulations, adding „This shift is coming through education and passage of time, where potential customers are consistently seeing their competitors benefit from the cost savings and service levels provided by PMA manufacturers. “

Competitive OEM’s

Although seeing their market share is being cut, several OEMs have established measures to sustain their economic viability, e.g. GE started the TRUEngine program, tells Visiongain, adding that OEMs are offering gold care service and long term maintenance options to the airline community as a way to provide fixed maintenance costs, and agreed aircraft reliability and availability. In addition, the OEMs also saw the opportunity of cutting the cost of their manufacturing process, says Visiongain – “they have been actively contracting third parties, through such OEM licensing agreements, to contract the PMA manufacturers to produce OEM-licensed PMA parts to be utilised on new build aircraft.“

Being a volatile industry, aviation requires thinking on the feet and small PMA manufacturers are in a good position to support it. “There are many PMA manufacturers existing, and many of them have a small scale business and are good at manufacturing specialising parts, “points Visiongain, while AeroKool reassures that even in the scenario of OEMs entering PMA market, small manufacturers will still have their advantages – „a smaller manufacturer has a lower overhead, which in return allows to pass the savings and be more customer efficient.“

US to EU – don’t trip

In the process of exporting PMA parts, there is a definite guideline on what to look and ask for when ordering a PMA part. „Over the years, the European PMA community was actively discussing about utilising the US PMA parts in Europe“ says Visiongain. It is described in the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) or in a consolidated version of it „Agreement between the US and the EU on cooperation in the regulation of civil aviation safety. “ None the less, there are specifics that may trip even the veteran workers.

The principle document when exporting and importing US manufactured parts to Europe is FAA Form 8130-3. The most often encountered problem is the fact, that wording is very important when filling this form. “Quite often the wording does not reflect one of the 3 conditions given by the Technical Implementation Procedures to the BASA” says EASA. While Form 8130-3 is not required to accompany aircraft manufactured in the US, under BASA agreement it is necessary to have in the EU. Due to stakeholders sometimes receiving PMA parts and 8130-3 forms without any PMA statements, or with incorrect PMA statements, the parts have to be returned until an 8130-3 is issued. This of course can delay the aircraft’s maintenance, notes EASA.

Clearing the confusion

To prevent such misunderstandings, EASA constantly updates the information of Technical Implementation Procedures for PMA parts and makes the information more clearly understandable. Currently, the three possible PMA conditions of 8130-3 will be defined according to EASA’s clarifications. The last, fourth, revision of TIP was recently signed by the FAA and EASA.

In the end, even in the light of OEMs entering PMA market, smaller PMA manufacturers are expecting increased market share and easier, as well as more straightforward regulations for PMA parts export and import.

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