Interview with American Airlines

Mr Edward A. Barnhart, Senior Site Manager - Hong Kong


Q. HAECO Group has been providing comprehensive support to American Airlines since 2012. In addition to line services and component services, HAECO is currently working on a cabin retrofit programme for American Airlines’ entire Boeing 777-200ER fleet. Can you share with our readers the service scope of this programme and comment on progress so far?


A. The American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER retrofit programme is one of the largest projects we have undertaken to date. The project scope covers upgrading of our current three-class, 247-seat configuration to the new two-class (business and economy) 260- and 289-seat configuration. The 13 aircraft with 260-seat configuration will be completed by the end of March, and we will then start on the remaining 34 aircraft with 289-seat configuration.


Q. American Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines. What qualities do you consider crucial when choosing an MRO partner?  


A. Of course cost, like many legacy U.S. carriers, is a factor when we are choosing an MRO partner. Aside from that, the quality of product produced and the ability to be in compliance with our procedures and processes - thus limiting both American Airlines’ and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audit findings - are another two factors that we weigh heavily when selecting an MRO partner.


Q. What are the major responsibilities for yourself and your team in relation to the cabin retrofit programme carried out in Hong Kong? 


A. The American Airlines on-site team takes up a wide range of responsibilities in regard to the cabin retrofit programme, including complete oversight to assure milestones are on track; working with HAECO’s Planning and Production Control team and check controllers to decide on work that needs to be done over and above the normal assigned work scope, and of course parts: making sure we have what we need on site and on time in order to meet the ETD of the aircraft.


Q. How do you feel about working with the HAECO team? What aspects of HAECO’s services impress you? 


A. I can tell you that everyone in the American Airlines on-site team, as well as the numerous visitors we get, are impressed with the HAECO operation. All the HAECO departments that provide support to American Airlines operations are vital and do a very good job, so selecting one is difficult. But the HAECO Engineering team would be the one that stands out. They have contributed so much to the cabin retrofit programme and helping resolve issues quickly, considering their involvement is not just with the American Airlines engineering team, but with other engineering teams like Zodiac Northwest Aerospace Technologies.


Q. Can you share with us American Airlines’ plans for 2016, as well as for future growth?


A. Sure. As I mentioned, we are nearing completion of the 13 aircraft with 260-seat configuration. We will then move towards completing the remaining 34 aircraft with 289-seat configuration, which will take us through August 2017. In August 2016, American Airlines is going to change from the Zodiac business class “Concept D” seats to what will be the new B/E Aerospace “Super Diamond” seats, with a potential to complete the prototype Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) in June.