ARTS assumes Beluga Line Maintenance in cooperation with Sabena Technics

Sabena Technics is France's leading provider of maintenance and modification services for civil and military aircraft. ARTS supports the MRO company in the maintenance of the aircraft types Beluga and Beluga XL.

© Airbus 2018 - photo by S. RAMADIER

Sabena Technics - Global Player among the MRO Companies

Sabena Technics was founded in 1968 as Touraine Air Transport and is now represented at 15 locations worldwide with around 2,200 employees. Headquartered in Paris, Sabena is a global player in the aircraft business with approximately 500 customers. Its customer base includes aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, British Aerospace, Bombardier Aerospace and ATR..

Due to the positive developments in the past, Sabena will be hiring 250 new employees over the next few years - 130 of them this year. The company also plans to invest in a new hangar at its plant at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport (France). In view of the increase in long-range wide-body aircraft in Europe, there is a need to create more capacity. The 10,000 square metre hangar can accommodate one long-range wide-body aircraft or up to three military transport aircraft simultaneously.

The Beluga Programme of Airbus

The basis for the Airbus A300-600ST - Super Transporter - is the wide-body aircraft A300-600. The modified version of the Beluga has been optimised for the transport of aircraft parts and oversized loads and measures 56 metres in length. Even more gigantic is the Beluga XL, which is based on the A330 and is the successor of the Beluga. Like the Beluga, the XL has an extension at the fuselage nose, but with a length of 63 metres it is considerably longer than its predecessor and with a height of 19 metres also higher. In addition, the new aircraft offers more space in the cargo hold and can transport more than 50 tons of cargo, so that in future two A350 wings can be loaded at the same time - instead of just one.

The "flying whale" made its maiden flight on 19 July 2018 in Toulouse with the aim of going into regular service as a transport aircraft this year. This will gradually send the "old" Belugas into retirement.


The maiden flight of the BelugaXL on 19 July 2018 at Toulouse Blagnac Airport.©Airbus

An ARTS project team for Sabena in action

In 2013, Sabena Technics won the long-term contract to maintain and repair the aircraft of the Airbus Beluga fleet. It was agreed to carry out the C-checks on the aircraft types A300-600ST Beluga, which will be carried out at the Bordeaux site. The Beluga fleet is operated by the Airbus subsidiary Airbus Transport International (ATI).

The outsourcing of the Beluga basic maintenance has been part of the ATI project "Fly 10000", which aimed at increasing aircraft availability and doubling the annual flight hours of the fleet before 2017 from 5,000 to 10,000 flight hours.

The fleet currently consists of five Beluga and one Beluga XL and is used for internal traffic throughout Europe. Due to the increased loading capacity of the XL, Airbus is in a position to increasingly handle its freight traffic by air and to contain ship traffic. An increase in flight hours is thus pre-programmed. The heavier load on the aircraft results in increased maintenance costs.

Since October 2018, an ARTS project team has been responsible for the line maintenance of the Beluga fleet. The B1 inspectors in Hamburg, Bremen and Getafe have passed a special type rating in order to be able to carry out the mechanical maintenance of the Beluga machines. Thus, within the scope of line maintenance, they eliminate the problems that have occurred in the electronic logbook and bear full responsibility for the operability of all mechanical components. The advantages of Business Process Outsourcing for the French MRO company Sabena are that the ARTS employees are familiar with the local conditions and speak German, which avoids language barriers. Another reason for outsourcing the maintenance process is the efficient reduction of process costs.

The ARTS project teams are and have been involved in numerous other projects. Among others, they were involved in the Door Modification for the Airbus A380 as well as in the area of industrial maintenance for Premium Aerotec or in the creation of an internal logistics system for the Airbus A350 wing section.

Due to the individual assembling of project teams by ARTS, the customer's requirements and performance targets can be implemented 100 percent and thus meet the highest quality standards. We support our customers in efficiently optimizing their processes and reducing process costs. We are happy to advise you and support you in the daily process so that you can focus on your core competencies.

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