The aircraft leasing industry owns more than 40% of the narrow and wide body airliner fleet by value. To protect the asset value and the investors, aircraft leases are structured with specific conditions, including lease return and maintenance requirements. While most modifications and repairs are performed under the regulatory approval of the operator’s national airworthiness authority, EASA or FAA approvals of modifications and repairs are often required at lease returns. These globally accepted approvals are required to move the asset between different countries. Delays in obtaining EASA or FAA approvals can significantly increase the cost to the operator due to delays during lessors’ lease return inspections, leading to additional financial penalties. The additional costs incurred may outweigh the financial savings of using the local airworthiness authority’s approval for modifications instead of requesting for EASA or FAA approvals.
The low-cost carrier operator has a fleet of Airbus A320 where the interior soft furnishings were modified to match their corporate image. The modifications were performed under the local airworthiness authority. GVH Aerospace provided timely support to the operator at lease return, including conducting flammability testing on soft furnishings such as seat cushion covers, curtains and carpets, and providing EASA approvals for the changes. This minimised the schedule delay and the operator was able to reconfigure the aircraft for lease return in a timely manner during aircraft input to the hangar, and present the approvals that complied with the lease conditions.