Mike Bianco, CEO of U.S.-based aftermarket inventory specialist AvAir, talks to Aviation Week about some of the company’s inventory acquisitions over the past year and how the parts segment may evolve post-crisis.

AvAir has been very actively buying inventory from MROs and airline maintenance divisions over the past year. These include acquisitions from the likes of Lufthansa Technik, and more recently in January this year, buying inventory from HAECO including parts related to the Airbus A320 program. What was the motivation behind these acquisitions?

Our plan was always to invest heavily in inventory and when the crisis happened, we decided to move forward following a board meeting. We’ve made several sizeable investments over the past year, one of which was the HAECO inventory. The logic behind this, and its specific A320 pool, was that it was used for a power-by-the-hour program(PBH) which are great until there’s no activity going on from the airline and then it becomes pretty problematic – there’s no money coming in, yet there’s still costs and all of this inventory remains on the balance sheet. During the past 12 months, we’ve been approached by several big MROs who are basically telling us they have inventory related to PBH programs which aren’t currently being used and they are seeking cash injections so they can instead focus on their core competencies. Why the A320 specifically? We agreed that in a downturn situation, narrowbody aircraft such as the A320 and 737 would be the first segments to recover. We’ve focused on key accessories and rotable components, as well as consumables and expendables as demonstrated by our Sabena Technics inventory acquisition in early 2021. Things are in the process of returning to normal, and even if MRO market spend stays down, we believe we’re better placed to capture a better share of the business out there. We’re confident of achieving growth that isn’t reliant on how fast the market recovers.

AvAir has benefited in some respects from the current situation yet like many companies in the industry, it has also experienced challenges during this past year. As an aftermarket inventory specialist, what were some of these specific challenges the company faced?

Our customers are airlines and MROs, and when everyone suddenly hits the brakes on purchasing – that becomes a real problem. Everyone works well when there’s a lot of cash being spent, but when that stops then it’s a different picture. Our main challenge was always making sure there was enough finance in place to ensure operations for a long period of time in the event of a downturn. Maintaining payroll and staff to try and keep the culture preserved while less money is coming in was the priority. Preserving this environment was very important. Fortunately we had a 100% employee retention during the pandemic.

Do you see a long-term change in parts purchasing and what the customer is looking to buy? Will there be a desire for greater flexibility?

I think so. Look at how fast companies offloaded their PBH agreements. Whichever end of that agreement you are on comes with an element of risk. For an operator, they want to have flexibility and functionality without having the burden on the balance sheet. I believe there will be several airlines looking for alternative inventory solutions such as selling and leasing back their inventory. Moves like that will free up capital and keep their operations going yet still give them access to the material. We are positioning ourselves to the market as the source for this without the airline having to put the inventory on the shelf. There’s several carriers we have agreements with where we reserve several batches of inventory just for them, and I believe that’s something we’ll see more of in future. 

Have you seen a spike in sourcing parts for cargo operators during the past year?

Absolutely. All through this pandemic, while there wasn’t a lot of passengers flying, there was a lot of people buying goods on the internet and packages being shipped. We also saw a significant spike in our military and defense operation – they’re moving troops and supplies. Both of these businesses are smaller than our commercial segment normally but we certainly saw a noticeable pickup in both. What we’re missing right now is international leisure and business travel so most of that widebody business is very quiet right now. I believe there’s a lot of pent-up demand there and as soon as we can get people feeling safe to travel again that will pick up accordingly.

Post-pandemic, consolidation is expected in many industry segments. Do you see opportunities for AvAir to expand through acquisitions in the component segment and if so, what sort of buys would you be looking to make?

Yes – pre-crisis, we had a couple of acquisitions quite far a long the line that we unfortunately had to hit the pause button on. In the three years prior to 2020, we saw 106% revenue growth over that period. We had looked at both organic and inorganic growth strategies before COVID-19, which was a curveball and we had to adapt to that. However, as things stabilize, the next three to five years will see further growth. In terms of acquisition targets, we’d be looking at smaller parts suppliers with a unique geographical position we don’t have or perhaps close ties with an operator we aren’t actively involved with. Our investors are patient and are taking a long-term approach for this.

Click here for the full article:https://aviationweek.com/mro/fast-5-avair-ceo-parts-market

Ai Sullivan brings 22 years of experience from the financial services industry with extensive knowledge in business analytics and business intelligence. Prior to joining AvAir, Ai has implemented various complex assignments to identify and define strategic business issues that require analysis and translate this information into insight, knowledge and understanding of the business industry. She also established and served as Chair of the Arizona Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Originally from Yokohama, Japan she immigrated to the United States to pursue her education. She holds an MBA, and an undergraduate degree in Business Management & Finance from Eller College of Management, University of Arizona. She is also on the board of a local animal rescue, and often volunteers her time teaching children about financial literacy.

Ai lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, two children and four rescue dogs. On her days off, you’ll find her running the desert trails or hiking with her family.

Ai will be a valuable addition in the continued growth of AvAir. Connect with her at Ai.Sullivan@AvAir.Aero.

Taylor Browne brings diverse and extensive marketing experience to AvAir and joins the company as an Associate for the Expendable Sales team. Before joining AvAir, Taylor recently completed a two-year marketing internship with Grand Canyon Education, Inc that expanded her current knowledge in digital, web, and promotional marketing. Shortly after, served as a Sales Marketing Coordinator for Wyndham Destinations from 2020-2021. Taylor graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2018 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and in 2020 completed her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership 

Taylor is originally from Anaheim, CA and moved out to Phoenix, AZ permanently in  2018. During her off time, Taylor is usually found either hiking or watching the  Broncos lose. Fun fact: Taylor has been sky diving 4 times. 

Taylor will be a valuable addition in the continued growth of AvAir. Connect with her  at Taylor.Browne@AvAir.aero.  

Rosette Abud is a Southern Arizona native and graduate of the University of Arizona where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with Minors in Criminal Justice and Spanish. Abud possesses more than a decade of experience in sales and business development in the SaaS, payroll, insurance, and event production industries. Her self-motivation, teamwork and diligent work ethic can be seen in her ability to build long-term relationships and strong rapport with clients.

While building her professional career, Rosette has always maintained a strong sense of philanthropic service focusing on underserved children. She serves as the VP of Fundraising for the Valley Of The Sun Active 20-30 Club and dedicates her time to granting wishes for children benefitting from Make-A-Wish Arizona. During her free time, Rosette enjoys athletic activities and inspiring others in their health and wellness journeys.

Rosette will be a valuable addition in the continued growth of AvAir. Connect with her at Rosette.Abud@AvAir.aero.

Emily Zupan was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Los Angeles, California, at 19 years old to attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Upon graduation, she began her career as a personal stylist. It was through that industry she found her true passion for sales and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2014 where she soon became a leader and top seller in the hospitality industry with the Hakkasan group. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged Emily to look at other industries outside of hospitality and she accepted an executive account manager position with Global Cannabinoids selling CBD and sanitizer products. Hungry for more, Emily is excited to join the Business Development team at AvAir, where she will bring her high-end sales experience and enthusiasm to work with an already very successful team.

Outside of work, Emily enjoys a very dedicated health and wellness routine that involves personal training, running, and meditation and spending free time with her friends and family.

Emily will be a valuable addition in the continued growth of AvAir. Connect with her at Emily.Zupan@AvAir.aero.

CHANDLER, Ariz. —  AvAir, an industry-leading inventory solutions provider for the aviation aftermarket, has entered an agreement with Sabena technics to acquire the MRO’s surplus inventory, including both consumables and expendables in new condition.

This agreement covers both airframe & component surplus materials used for heavy maintenance on various AIRBUS family, ATR and C130 aircrafts. They will be made available to AvAir customers globally, as many aircraft are requiring maintenance checks to go back into service after being parked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a leading independent provider of MRO solutions, Sabena technics provides high-quality component testing, maintenance, repair and overhaul as well as pool access, consignment stock and trading solutions to its customers worldwide. Thanks to its own in-house component shops in Europe and Asia, Sabena technics can deliver flexible and efficient services guaranteeing high availability and reduced TATs.

“By selling our surplus, we mainly aim to optimize our inventory. It allows us to invest and further expand our stocks so we can better serve our customers,” said Ludovyc Lecherbonnier, vice president of component solutions for Sabena technics. “We are very pleased with the solution AvAir has provided us and are delighted to keep strengthening our partnership of many years.”

“We’re happy to continue to meet Sabena technic’s needs through our custom-fit solutions,” said Mike Bianco, CEO of AvAir. “Our strategic partnership is a win-win for our customers who will continue to receive top quality parts and service.”

AvAir offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts. The company is ISO 9001, AS9120 and ASA 100 certified, and adheres to the highest quality standards in all phases: purchasing, receiving, stocking, sales and shipping.

For more information about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About AvAir

Founded in 2000, Arizona-based AvAir is a global leader in the aviation aftermarket, providing customized inventory solutions for airlines, OEMs, and MROs.  AvAir, offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts.  For more about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About Sabena Technics

Sabena Technics is a French leading independent provider of maintenance and modification services (MRO) to civil and military aircraft operators.

CHANDLER, Ariz. —  AvAir, an industry-leading inventory solutions provider for the aviation aftermarket, has acquired Airbus A320 rotable pool from HAECO ITM Limited (“HAECO ITM”), a member of the HAECO Group.

The HAECO Group is one of the world’s leading aircraft engineering and maintenance service providers. HAECO ITM provides services ranging from flexible inventory pooling options, Power-By-The-Hour support services and repair management to ad-hoc loans, exchanges and worldwide AOG support. With extensive component engineering and airline operating experience and strong in-house repair capabilities, HAECO ITM offers customised, innovative and cost-effective component management solutions with guaranteed service level and high-quality component maintenance at competitive cost, ensuring customer fleet performance and technical dispatch reliability whilst providing cost visibility.

“Last year was difficult for the industry and we were able to work closely with our clients to create solutions for them through multiple large acquisitions,” said Brandon Wesson, executive Vice President of Sales for AvAir. “We’re pleased to continue our momentum into the new year with this partnership and expand our offering for customers.”

With this transaction, AvAir will add over 2,000 rotable components including IDG’s, Starters and Avionics for Airbus A320. The entire stock will be added to AvAir’s growing Dublin facility to support their A320 customers in the region.

“HAECO ITM has been able to optimise and right size its rotable holding over the last few months with consolidation and improvements in our analytics and supply chain. We are happy to have found a partner in AvAir that is known for strategic solutions; and they delivered just that with our agreement,” said Graham Air, Head of Asset Management and Trading for HAECO ITM. “It was great to work with a team who focused on our needs and how to meet them.”  

 “Our facility in Dublin has been key to providing timely service to our clients in the Eastern hemisphere,” said Fjalar Scott, AvAir’s vice president of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “This acquisition adds more in-stock inventory to our growing list of components to ensure immediate deliverability.”

AvAir offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts. The company is ISO 9001, AS9120 and ASA 100 certified, and adheres to the highest quality standards in all phases: purchasing, receiving, stocking, sales and shipping.

For more information about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About AvAir

Founded in 2000, Arizona-based AvAir is a global leader in the aviation aftermarket, providing customized inventory solutions for airlines, OEMs, and MROs.  AvAir, offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts.  For more about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (“HAECO Group”)

The HAECO Group is one of the world’s leading aircraft engineering and maintenance service providers. The Group provides a comprehensive range of services encompassing Airframe Services, Line Services, Cabin Solutions, Private Jet Solutions, Fleet Technical Management, Inventory Technical Management, Component Overhaul, Aerostructure Repairs, Landing Gear Services, Engine Services, Global Engine Support, Parts Manufacturing and Technical Training. The HAECO Group consists of 16 operating companies, employing around 17,000 staff in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the United States. HAECO Group’s website: www.haeco.com

CHANDLER, Ariz. — AvAir, an industry leading inventory solutions provider for the aviation aftermarket, has been named on Phoenix Business Journal’s Arizona Corporate Excellence Awards “Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies” List. AvAir’s two-year revenue growth earned the company a ranking of 14 of the fastest growing companies in the state.

“We’re thrilled to be named on this highly respected list,” said Mike Bianco, CEO of AvAir. “AvAir has made huge strides in growth over the last two years and we’re excited to continue to make acquisitions around the world that allow us to provide top notch service to our clients.”

Arizona Corporate Excellence Awards is the only program highlighting the market’s biggest privately held companies. To qualify, companies must be independently owned, privately held and based in Arizona. It also needs to have met minimum revenue of at least $7 million in each of the two most recent fiscal years.

AvAir offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts. The company is ISO 9001, AS9120 and ASA 100 certified, and adheres to the highest quality standards in all phases: purchasing, receiving, stocking, sales and shipping. AvAir recently expanded operations to Dublin, offering better service to customers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

For more information about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About AvAir

Founded in 2000, Arizona-based AvAir is a global leader in the aviation aftermarket, providing customized inventory solutions for airlines, OEMs, and MROs.  AvAir, offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts.  For more about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

CHANDLER, Ariz. AvAir, an industry leading inventory solutions provider for the aviation aftermarket, has partnered with Icelandair on an asset management contract for all surplus materials including a variety of Boeing parts.

Icelandair has been in operation for 83 years and has more than 44 destinations, 524 connections and 4.4 million passengers traveling internationally. Icelandair Group’s fleet comprises 51 aircrafts with 34 attributed to Icelandair.

“Creating new relationships has always been critical to AvAir, but the pandemic has made them more important than ever,” said Mike Bianco, CEO of AvAir. “Many airlines are looking for creative inventory solutions during this time of uncertainty and it is an honor to work together and custom-fit solutions to meet these challenges.”

With this transaction, AvAir has added a wide range of Boeing aircraft material to its inventory including 757, 767, 737NG and 737MAX. The parts will be stored in AvAir’s Dublin facility with many parts already in stock and more to arrive soon.

“AvAir took the time to understand our company and develop an agreement that meets our needs,” said Eiríkur Smári Vilhjálmsson, Icelandair’s Manager of Materials and Logistics. “Their transparency and customer service confirmed that we selected a great partner for this endeavor.”

“We’re thrilled to begin this partnership with Icelandair,” said Fjalar Scott, AvAir’s Vice President of Sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Adding these parts to our inventory in Dublin allows us to quickly provide the best materials for our clients on this side of the world and in turn helps boost the local economy.”

AvAir offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts. The company is ISO 9001, AS9120 and ASA 100 certified, and adheres to the highest quality standards in all phases: purchasing, receiving, stocking, sales and shipping. AvAir recently expanded operations to Dublin, offering better service to customers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

For more information about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About AvAir

Founded in 2000, Arizona-based AvAir is a global leader in the aviation aftermarket, providing customized inventory solutions for airlines, OEMs, and MROs.  AvAir, offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aircraft parts.  For more about AvAir, visit AvAir.aero.

About Icelandair 

Icelandair is a leading airline offering flights to and from Iceland, and an attractive option for cross-Atlantic flights. Icelandair provides safe, reliable flights and exceptional service on flights to metropolitan areas on both sides of the Atlantic. The airline operates out of Iceland and uses the country’s geographical location midway between North America and Europe as an opportunity to build an ever-growing network of international routes with Iceland as a hub. Icelandair is a part of Icelandair Group.