Aviation Business News

Efficiently managing surplus assets

Bii managing director, Robert Syms
photo_camera Bii's managing director, Robert Syms

UK-based aerospares company Bii agreed a contract with Virgin Atlantic in August 2022 which, as managing director Robert Syms explains to MRO Management, has taken them a step closer to their ambitions for growth on a global scale.

Our hard work in continuing to build Bii’s operation worldwide paid off one year ago when we signed a three-year deal with Virgin Atlantic to oversee the consignment and storage process of its surplus inventory of B747-400, A340-600 and A330-200 assets.

It was a significant deal and one that was thanks to a combination of our fresh thinking and experience that brought one of the world’s most famous carriers to partner with us.

Having such a well-known global brand partner is recognition of our efforts towards building a truly global enterprise that puts Bii’s customers at the very centre of our goals and ambitions.

A best-in-class model

Virgin Atlantic needed a company that had the expertise to handle complex requirements and logistical challenges. It was vital that any partner they chose could also prioritise their stock and had global sales reach too.

It was critical for the airline to have a partner that not only had the capability, but also the willingness and desire to offer them an uncompromising level of service and, given that our other activities do not conflict, we were able to offer this.

Managing material is not as straightforward as putting it on a shelf and forgetting about it. Items can have service lives, others may require regular attention; wheels, tyres and engine material all have their idiosyncrasies when it comes to storage. You need a team who understands the needs of the materials and the necessary systems in place to monitor and maintain this.

For a small company, Bii has great depth in knowledge and skills, and we typically hire from the largest companies in the space. Despite our size we operate to a best-in-class model.

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Virgin Atlantic A330
Virgin Atlantic A330. Credit: Shutterstock

New facility

As part of the deal, we also created a new 9,000 square foot distribution facility just 0.5 miles from Gatwick Airport’s perimeter. It currently holds more than 20,000 of Virgin Atlantic’s surplus part numbers and, importantly, falls under the airline’s Part 145 approval.

The final consignment of Virgin Atlantic’s UK assets was delivered in January this year and there will be consignments on an ad-hoc basis from their global operations over the remainder of the initial three-year deal with us.

Our Gatwick distribution facility is also another reflection of our ambition. It is a full-service site – meaning we can store, receive and ship from the location which has great access to main transit arteries, with almost immediate access to Gatwick and less than one hour to Heathrow – the two busiest airports in the UK.

The deal means that we are now responsible for every aspect of managing the inventory, repair and sales of Virgin Atlantic’s surplus assets, including engines, APUs, avionics and all widebody material.

We have removed the headache of managing the storage and, because we operate and oversee any required repair or recertification requirements, marketing, and handling logistics, we have created significant efficiency for the airline.

This advertorial feature was first published in MRO Management – August/September 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.

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