International Airline Technical Pool (IATP)
By Roy Resto
It was a wintry, snowy, dark night at the airport (I know that sounds cheesy, but hey, it’s fun). Forebodingly, you have only one flight a day there and are minimally staffed and equipped. To your horror the flight skids and overruns the runway while landing. No one’s hurt and the damage to the aircraft appears minimal. After the FAA clears the scene, airport officials turn up the pressure to get the aircraft cleared of the runway, and the airline operations center wants the aircraft in service as soon as possible. Who you gonna call (more cheesiness)? If you’re in the IATP you call upon your fellow airline member who has a major operations hub there. They show up with an aircraft recovery kit, extract the aircraft and tow it to a remote maintenance pad at the airport as your maintenance field team arrives to work with their fellow IATP maintenance crew to patch up the stricken bird. Some parts are needed and are drawn from IATP stock. As the sun sets, the IATP heroes sheath their tools and call it a day; just who were these caped crusaders? FYI, end of cheesiness, I promise.
According to the IATP website,
“IATP is a convention of airlines sharing technical resources to generate economic savings and support on time dispatch reliability and operational safety”.
The key word being ‘sharing’. Amongst the members, they share parts, provide line maintenance, aircraft recovery kits, and ground support equipment, GSE. At their 126th conference (they meet twice a year) in Lisbon, Portugal, they welcomed five new airline members and three new associate members. IATP membership has now reached a record of 123 airline members and 40 Associate members! IATP steps in when AOG situations arise and as air services ramp up following the pandemic, airlines are increasingly seeking access to parts and services.1
For example, Marc-André Huard, Air Canada’s operations manager for components shared Air Canada’s IATP strategy:
“You can’t have everything everywhere. It’s easy if you go into
some stations enough, like London eight times a day, where we
put our own stocks. But if we fly seasonally into Athens a few
times a week, we look for service providers. We ask other airlines
because it costs less together. We don’t have to buy parts, and
we do not have to arrange logistics.
At the same time, I use the pool to offset spending on inventory at
main bases. I carry inventory at Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal,
and I can make revenue assisting an airline that only flies there once
a week. It’s a good way to generate revenue and help them out.”3
From the ASA perspective, the IATP’s Associate Members are of particular interest, and indeed some of the Associate Members are ASA Accredited and ASA members. To be an IATP Associate Member:
The supplier is a provider of goods or services to the aviation industry and particularly to the IATP membership in any of the following areas:
- Spares pooling (Supplier provided parts)
- Component, engine or airframe repair and overhaul
- Ground handling
- Technical services
- Transportation services
- and shall not be a holder of an Air Carrier Operations Certificate and/or not operating as an airline.
This is broad, but the list of suppliers is currently only forty and tightly controlled.
The parts pooling arrangement which is shared currently has 5,284 items2 and are categorized by letter as follows:
P-A220, CRJ and Embraer
Q–MD11, DC10 and all other Airbus aircraft
S-B757, B767 and B787
G is for avionics and common parts, which can be interchangeable between fleet types.
The Associate Members do a lot of the parts provisioning and services. My casual and unquantified observations of the associate members are that they likely don’t rely on their IATP membership as a primary source of revenue, but I’m sure they leverage their status and relationships with the airline members for the collateral benefit of parts sales unrelated to IATP operations.
For this article I spoke with Mr. Kevin Wyant of Aviation Concepts. Aviation Concepts is ASA-100 Accredited, an ASA Member, and an IATP Associate Member. Kevin is the Chairman of the IATP’s Supplier Services Committee which administers the processes used by the Associates and in particular the Associate Member Manual. The manual is simply a compilation of dos and don’ts, and how-to’s. Associate members must pay dues and meeting fees. When Associate members contribute parts to the IATP pool, an airline will store the parts, with IATP airline members having visibility and access to those parts. The Associate Member collects a periodic pooling fee for the parts whether the part is used or not.
My first exposure to the IATP was when I was at a major airline as a QA Manager. I was able to write, and get approved, new procedures whereby the airline finally opened to the idea of accepting trace to foreign airlines if those airlines were IATP members (which are carefully vetted). At a subsequent ASA conference with an airline panel session, I was pleasantly surprised to hear them (the other airlines) say they were finally accepting foreign airline trace based on this model; word gets around. For some of you wondering why your airline customer wants to know to whom the foreign airline is traced to, or states their accepted list of airlines, this explains it.
Over ‘n out
Roy ‘Royboy’ Resto
1: IATP Strengthens Global Outreach; AVITRADER; ISSN 1718-7966; October 17, 2022; Vol. 861
2: IATP reinforces the spirit of cooperation in Lisbon; https://www.iatp.com/HOME/MRO-2022-11.pdf
3: From Reliability To Pooling At Air Canada; https://aviationweek.com/mro/supply-chain/reliability-pooling-air-canada?elq2=6cb6e9f19bf947c39666fb5227ff0a5d