Hong Kong-based freight forwarder and logistics company, U-Freight says that while the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant reduction in movements of aircraft spares, engines, stabilizers, landing gear, and electronics, its project activity for airline repair companies has been holding up somewhat.
Bill Rauld, sales manager, Latin America at U-Freight North America, says “aircrafts still flying will continue to go technical in remote parts of the world, or they may even be involved in relatively minor accidents such as a runway overshoot or heavy landing.”
Very often, there won’t be any alternative to repairing the plane in situ, and this can involve a major logistics operation, he adds.
“We might have to send over portable hangars in, perhaps, three sea-freight containers, plus all the tools and so forth, in order to carry out the repair.”
In many circumstances, tools and materials, that have been involved in the repair of aircraft will then need to be returned to base.
Meanwhile, with the global airline industry in the grip of the Covid-19 crisis, the future for the aerospace market generally is “uncertain at best” says Rauld.
And even though many companies are using this time to update their avionics and do regular maintenance. “There are still opportunities, but they are becoming rarer and more competitive.
What is really needed, is for the travel restrictions and bans that governments have imposed around the world as a result of the crisis caused by Covid-19 to be lifted and for the world’s airlines to start flying again.
However, Rauld is under no illusions that this will be a quick or easy process. For a start, many aircraft will need to be recertified before they can take to the air again. Although this could generate a certain amount of spares movement for U-Freight, he believes.