January 30 2019  |  Cabin Maintenance

Etihad, Lufthansa join forces in Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance

By Rachel Debling

Etihad Airways Engineering is one of the founding members of the IAMA

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Etihad Airways Engineering, EAD Aerospace, Lufthansa Technik and Envoy Aerospace to form a coalition called the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance (IAMA).

The purpose of the organization is to encourage aircraft owners and operators to update their fleets through "high-quality equipment and rigorous inspections," no matter which member provides the services, according to a jointly released statement.

The IAMA members are among those companies who can offer aircraft modification approval and documentation through a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). Modifications can include the installation of new cabins, connectivity or avionics systems. The alliance can field concerns regarding documentation and data availability, and will provide a customer support network across international regulatory systems.

According to the IAMA, its members will agree to standards for the documentation and quality of STCs for the purpose of establishing an open, secure documentation platform for airline customers and aircraft owners and to inform the public and expert communities about the advantages of STC-approved solutions.

The alliance's inaugural meeting will occur this spring. Membership is open to all market participants, such as aircraft manufacturers, airlines, suppliers and lessors.

Executives from IAMA's founding members commented on the forming of the partnership and their hopes for the future of the relationship.

Bernhard Randerath, Vice President Design, Engineering and Innovation at Etihad Airways Engineering:

“This alliance is a positive step towards addressing the challenges that customers face with STC solutions today. As the Middle East’s largest MRO, we use OEM solutions; however, Etihad is renowned for innovation and applying our own STC modifications. We believe that OEMs will also benefit from becoming members of IAMA, which is open to all modification providers.

Our customers need seamless solutions and efficient support during implementation and most importantly in service afterwards. STCs are a fast, cost-efficient way to provide modifications, and IAMA is a promising approach to address the critical points of documentation simplicity and continued after-sales support.”

Thomas Rueckert, Head of Base Maintenance and Aircraft Modification at Lufthansa Technik:

“We enable aircraft operators to decide objectively and independently on the best possible modification solution for their fleet – regardless of a specific provider. Safety, flexibility of solutions for implementation of customer requests, along with speed and efficiency are at the heart of our activities"

Andreas Gherman, Head of the Design Organisation at Lufthansa Technik:

“In addition, value retention and reliable life cycle support are essential factors for aircraft operators and owners. IAMA jointly develops transparent standards that will help our customers make the right decisions."

Patrick Gindre, Sales Director of EAD Aerospace:

“The aftermarket modifier ecosystem needed a 'home' to discuss our challenges, best practices and to improve our services by delivering a common message to the market. Together, we have the objective to shape the future of the STC in the aviation world”.

Romain Mbwang Seppoh, Head of Airworthiness at EAD Aerospace:

"The retrofit market has specific challenges to be handled with customers and operators in terms of organization and mandatory exchange of data. IAMA will be a collaborative and knowledgeable reference and voice to regulators and standardization committees regarding how STCs efficiently fulfill these obligations. Being in the heart of the activity, IAMA tackles those challenges daily. The alliance will foster proportionate and adapted regulations, and jointly develop and provide the optimal tools to its members.”

Adrian Honer, partner and ODA Lead Administrator at Envoy Aerospace, LLC:

“We are excited to be a part of IAMA. The affiliation will provide our members with a significant voice to resolve issues that affect retrofit certification approvals. Our involvement in IAMA reflects our commitment to our customers, present and future, to be a leader in retrofit aircraft certification quality.”

Marilyn Feigl, partner and ODA Administrator at Envoy Aerospace:

“Retrofit modifications on aircraft have unique challenges. IAMA will offer its members mentorship and counselling to deal with these challenges, especially when dealing with regulatory agencies and the industry at large. This will help raise the certification standards to ensure the highest quality STC products.”

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