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PMA parts run the gamut from interior piece parts like seats and tray tables to high pressure turbine blades.

certification service, Jason Dickstein, president of the U.S.-based Modification and Replacement Parts Association (MARPA), “expected to sell him [on PMA], but he was selling me on it.” He attributes this openness to Chinese cultural perceptions. In China “property is something you can hold, whereas intellectual property is only regulated by contract.” The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has been issuing its own PMA approvals to Chinese manufacturers, and so far has approved more than 400 articles, according to Dickstein. Still Asia is not all smooth sailing.

The PMA business is most closely related

to the cost of oil, adds Andy Shields, Wencor’s vice president of PMA. As oil prices increase, internal hurdles for savings at the airlines decrease, which allows more widespread use of PMA, he explains. Above a certain threshold, however, the price of oil would depress the market. If oil reaches a price of more than $110 per barrel, for example, the 5-year compound annual growth rate would dwindle to a mere 9 percent, according to AeroStrategy. High fuel costs also raise airline operating costs, accelerating aircraft retirements.

Geographic Expansion Although PMA parts are most commonly found in the Americas, and secondly in what AeroStrategy calls EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), these parts are also gaining traction in Asia. The recent U.S. European Union (EU)

bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) has primarily raised the comfort level in Europe with existing policy. Whether because of the BASA or simply cost pressures, AFI KLM is said to be “seriously considering” PMA. China, interestingly, is receptive. Meeting with the head of the Chinese

HEICO has been making steady progress there, says Pat Markham, the company’s vice president of technical services. But Asia is challenging because there is no single, unified regulator, and there are younger regulators and new carriers. But with the 2008 downturn and the credit crunch, saving money has become important to these carriers.

Vigilance Required Nevertheless PMA companies cannot afford complacency. OEMs have opened a new line of attack, and peripheral threats could flare up at any time. Aviation Maintenance, for example, is hearing from many quarters about the growing trend of restrictive agreements for use or access to instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA) or component maintenance manuals (CMMs). According to a letter to FAA from

MARPA—published on the MARPA Web site—some type certificate (TC) holders have begun to place restrictions on ICAs and revisions, including via licensing agreements. Dickstein says he has been told that “these restrictions specify that the licensee may not use the ICAs to perform maintenance…on type certificated products that contain PMA parts or FAA- DER-approved (independent) repairs.”

The problem is that PMA and repair

approval applicants are “encouraged” to use the TC holder’s ICAs whenever possible to avoid inconsistency and confusion in the industry, Dickstein explains. If a repair station has to promise not to use PMA in order to get the necessary information, this not only violates FAA policy but also could impact safety and increase confusion in the maintenance industry, Dickstein says. Dickstein is also concerned about the use of subscriptions to CMMs and other technical information to exclude PMA. In a recent blog he refers to Goodrich- Messier, Inc.’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake technical publications Web site, which, he says, requires subscribers to consent to the following agreement in order to access information: “All subscribers to the Goodrich-Messier, Inc. publications library must agree…” to install “only Goodrich-Messier, Inc.-authorized parts… during maintenance and overhaul.” This type of agreement puts a repair station in a no-win situation because it must have the CMM in order to work but has to submit to exclusivity demands in order to get it. OEMs are becoming more creative

in the attempting to reduce the use of PMA, Markham agrees. A few OEMs are approaching customers with licensing

Aviation Maintenance | | October / November 2011 39

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