The Benefits of AS9110 Certification for Aircraft MRO Repair Stations
What is AS9110 and what are the benefits for aircraft MRO companies?
While obtaining regulatory approval under Part 145 is a necessary requirement for an aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility to operate, obtaining AS9110 certification can provide additional benefits.
The AS9110 standard defines the requirements for a quality management system (QMS) for organizations whose primary business is providing maintenance repair, and overhaul services for the aircraft industry. AS9110 evolved from AS9100, tailoring specific requirements for the maintenance and repair of commercial, private, and military aircrafts. This is considered a supplement to FAA Part 145 for those repair stations that have customer requirements for AS certification. Worldwide there are 882 AS9110 certified companies as of 5/9/23 (Oasis Certified Supplier Directory).
MROs perform an important service for the aviation industry, performing all the activities that are aimed at ensuring that aircrafts remain ready to fly at all times. They help to reduce the chance of unexpected equipment malfunctions or failures by providing other engineering services and the inspection of engines, landing gear components, and other aircraft components to guarantee safety.
Why aren’t more aircraft MRO Repair Stations AS9110 certified?
MRO stations may believe that the standards they are meeting within the regulatory framework are sufficient. Since repair stations work to many regulatory standards, there isn’t one document or standard to adopt. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), etc., all have varying requirements. There’s also the Aeronautical Repair Station Section of the Coordinating Agency for Supplier Evaluations (CASE), which can provide some value for repair stations in reducing audit time from customers.
Repair stations possibly view the AS9110 requirements as just another layer of cost or increased administration, without understanding the underlying benefits to the company. The main issue driving MRO Repair Station behavior is what the customer wants, which is a certain regulatory tag. General Terms Agreements (GTA’s) don’t require a particular QMS but may ask for elements of it, or self-compliance without third party certification to AS9110. Some MROs will wait until a customer requires AS9110 certification before implementing it.
According to Aviation Week Fleet and MRO Forecast data, North America is expected to generate $22.6 billion in MRO demand in 2023 (with a fleet of 9,485 aircraft in service). Western and Eastern Europe are forecast to total $22.9 billion. By 2030, global MRO demand is expected to reach $118 billion (Global Fleet & MRO Market Forecast 2022–2032).
“The industry needs smart strategies to get itself in a better position by the 2030s.”
Brian Prentice, Oliver Wyman Partner
What are the benefits of AS9110 certification to MRO repair stations?
MRO Repair stations may not consider the value in obtaining AS9110 in part because they don’t understand continuous improvement or have a formal QMS. Primarily, AS9110 certification demonstrates that the repair station has implemented a QMS that meets internationally recognized standards for the aviation industry specific for repair stations. This can enhance the facility’s reputation and credibility among customers and stakeholders, and demonstrate their commitment to quality and safety. Additionally, AS9110 certification can help the repair station improve its operational efficiency and reduce waste. Some repair stations may already be tracking Key Performance Indicators and elements from AS9110 without knowing it. By implementing a QMS that includes processes for continuous improvement with goals and objectives, the repair station can identify and address areas where it can reduce costs and streamline operations.
AS9110 certification can also help repair stations comply with regulatory requirements more effectively. By implementing a QMS that includes processes for monitoring and managing compliance, the repair station can demonstrate to regulatory authorities that they are committed to meeting all relevant requirements. Finally, AS9110 certification can help repair stations stay competitive in the industry. Some customers in the aviation industry, and especially those in the space and defense industry, require their suppliers to be certified to specific quality management standards. By obtaining AS9110 certification, repair stations can position themselves as preferred suppliers for these customers, and potentially increase their business opportunities.
With the rate of growth from 2023 – 2030 projected to be from 3 to 5%, the MRO industry will need to be prepared for growth, competition, and new technologies. AS9110 certifications have increased an impressive 40.5% in the last 5 years as companies are recognizing that certification provides a quality foundation and sustainability for MROs to meet their critical role to ensure the safety and airworthiness of aircraft and their components. Get a free quote when you talk to one of our aviation experts to see if AS9110 is the next step for your company.
Article by Jim Lee, CEO of simpleQuE Inc., an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. SimpleQuE is a medium-sized consulting, training, and internal auditing company of quality management systems with a focus on “quality excellence made simple”. Jim is a former IRCA certified QMS lead auditor, a former IATF certified IATF 16949 auditor, and a former RABQSA certified Aerospace Auditor and has performed 3rd party audits in the past.
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