Meet the team: Merel Simmelink

In this interview, we had the opportunity to speak with Merel Simmelink, HR Specialist at Magnetic Line, about her journey into the aviation business and her experiences within the organization. She shared her key goals in supporting colleagues worldwide, her personal and professional growth ambitions, as well as her hobbies outside of work.

How did your aviation career start? What was your experience prior to joining Magnetic Line, a member of Magnetic Group?

My aviation career started when I joined Magnetic Line (then Direct Maintenance) in November 2021. I came in not knowing much about the business, but I have been able to learn a lot from people in various roles who are happy to share their experiences. This has made it a very pleasant journey within Magnetic Line so far for me – so a big shoutout to all Magnetic Line colleagues!

What are the key goals of your work?

My main goal is to build connections with all of our colleagues around the world and support them where I can within the scope of my HR role. Furthermore, I, of course, support my HR colleagues in various processes and also get to lead different projects. A big help for us will be the implementation of our personnel system BambooHR.

A more personal goal of mine is to develop my knowledge of international HR even further. Also, I am always looking for ways to develop myself. This is why I am very happy to be taking part in the leadership program at Magnetic. I am very thankful for this opportunity and excited about what lies ahead.

Besides work, what are your hobbies?

I love being creative, so in my free time, I like to sew, paint, draw and much more. It offers a nice change of pace in regard to the work I do on the daily. Besides that, I love being out in nature; in the summer, you can often find me on the water on my paddleboard.

And a bonus question – what are your top destinations to travel to?

I still have much of the world to discover, so instead, I will name the destinations I would love to visit. High on my list is the Zion National Park in Utah, USA. Additionally, I would like to see more of (East) Africa. After visiting our station in Mombasa last year, I have been wanting to go back and see more of the continent.

Meet the team: Jekaterina Piskunova

In this interview, we speak with the Finance Director of Magnetic Line, Jekaterina Piskunova, who has been working with Magnetic Group for almost three years. She discusses her biggest achievements so far and her main goals for integrating financial processes and improving financial information visibility for the Magnetic Line team. Additionally, we learn about her hobbies and favourite travel destinations.

How long have you worked at Magnetic Group? 

I have been working with Magnetic Group for almost three years. I started my journey in Magnetic during the most intense Covid crisis, which was an interesting and turbulent time. Stepping into an aviation company during one of the aviation industry’s worst crises may appear to be an opportunistic decision, but I was more than confident that the Magnetic Group team would emerge victorious, and so they did.

What have been your biggest achievements so far?

My primary goal was and continues to be to offer qualitative management accounting information to decision-makers, including our management and shareholders. One of my biggest achievements was making management reporting more transparent and efficient by transitioning from manually filled Excel spreadsheets to the BI tool Qlik. Our most critical financial data is now available online for all our business unit managers, Magnetic Group management, as well as for our shareholders.

I am keen on improving financial processes in addition to increasing the quality of information. We have made significant progress in making group financial data clearer and more transparent in recent years.

What will be your main goals as Magnetic Line Finance Director? 

One of my main goals is to integrate Magnetic Line’s financial processes with best practices, which are already implemented on a group level. I see a lot of possibilities for automating financial reporting through the use of BI tool capabilities and other technical solutions. My goal is to make financial information visible and clear to the Magnetic Line team, including management, operation leads, and station managers. I will also significantly contribute to improving the quality of financial information so that we can make sound data-driven judgments.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy travelling and hiking. Spending time in the open air with my family gives me a lot of energy.

What are your top destinations to travel to?

I am a total sea person, as I was born and raised in Tallinn. When I travel, I usually go to places near the seaside. My most recent and most memorable trip was to the Amalfi coast, where I spent three days hiking and exploring the area with only a backpack, using local transportation (buses and ferries).

Meet the team: Victoria Goodenough

We had the pleasure of speaking with Victoria Goodenough, the Head of Business Development at Magnetic Line, whose experience spans across various roles and countries. In this interview, we’ll learn more about how her aviation career began, her experience working at Magnetic Line, as well as her goals for the future. We’ll also look into the challenges she faces in her line of work and her interests outside of work, including her hobbies and travel preferences. 

How did your aviation career start? What was your experience prior to joining Direct Maintenance, newly known as Magnetic Line, a member of Magnetic Group? 

Growing up in Germany on Royal Air Force bases and hearing Tornado jets fly overhead sparked my interest in aviation even as a young kid. When I was a teenager, I also received a flying scholarship. However, I didn’t begin working in the aviation industry until I relocated to Malta and had the chance to work as a key account manager for Lufthansa Technik. I spent six years there, which included a move to a role in product sales where I was responsible for the base maintenance needs of African customers. I then transferred to SR Technics, another big MRO, and from there to Direct Maintenance. I’ve recently begun dividing my time between the line maintenance business and the group’s other projects.

Moving from Direct Maintenance to Magnetic Line – what are the future perspectives? Will there be any changes in your line of work? 

Along with assisting with Wheels and Brakes, Plug in workshop, PBH sales, and my business development in Magnetic Line, I already collaborate closely with other Business Units in the group. I do anticipate that customers will require flexible solutions that span multiple business units, and I am already considering how we might serve some customers with multiple products or services or expand what we do to provide services to new types of customers. I would love to see more integration and collaboration to offer customers the best-tailored services possible. Additionally, I see cross-business unit cooperation going beyond sales and even to shared operational and business performance excellence.

What are the main challenges in your line of work? 

There are a lot. Line maintenance is a dynamic business, and we have chosen to work on many improvement projects, which I enjoy tackling. Sometimes stepping out of the ‘old’ way of thinking, to challenge the way we do things and be open to change is difficult, but under the new flag of Magnetic Line, we will witness a strong momentum for change and advancement.

What are your key goals for this year in your work? 

My goal is to create opportunities for the business units I support to collaborate by initiating joint projects and new initiatives. On a personal level, I am keen on taking up more improvement projects within the management team of Magnetic Line to exchange experiences and ideas that can help us ‘level up’ our business operations.

Besides work, what are your hobbies? 

I wish I had more time for hobbies; in addition to being a taxi driver to my budding ‘sports star’ daughter, I recently took on two rescue puppies and now spend much time walking and training them. It seems to be progressing well, but it certainly takes a lot of patience. I do enjoy snowboarding in the winter and some gardening over the spring and summer.

And a bonus question – what are your top destinations to travel to? 

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in various countries, including the United States, Japan, and Europe, and to travel extensively across Asia and Central America. As a regional sales manager for Africa, I also had the chance to visit several African countries, such as Mauritius, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and more, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. However, I would say that one of my favorite trips was driving the garden route from Durban to Cape Town and back in South Africa roughly 20 years ago. Today, I still enjoy travelling to South Africa for work as it is such a beautiful country with a mix of cultures, a true rainbow nation with pretty much everything you can ask for – great food, wine, scenery, wildlife and exceptionally welcoming people. I highly recommend it!

Magnetic Group Rebrands Direct Maintenance as Magnetic Line

Magnetic Group, a fast-growing aviation company, is delighted to announce that Direct Maintenance has been rebranded as Magnetic Line. This rebranding is part of Magnetic Group’s overarching strategy to unify all its businesses under a single brand – Magnetic – and streamline its products and services under one easily recognizable name.

Direct Maintenance has been an integral part of Magnetic Group since March 2019, offering line maintenance services to clients around the world. The rebranding will not affect the range of services provided or the team’s composition, which will continue to deliver the same exceptional quality and dependability as before.

Jan Kotka, COO of Magnetic Group and Acting Manager of Magnetic Line, expressed confidence that the new structure and expanding business would have a positive impact on collaboration. “Our group’s mission is to ‘help aviation to help the world,'” he explained. “Together, we can achieve even greater heights! We are passionate about our work, and we believe our new name and structure reflect that passion.”

As Mandeep Rana, Head of Sales at Magnetic Line, aptly put it, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” The Magnetic Line rebranding demonstrates Magnetic Group’s commitment to keeping pace with the changing times and catering to the evolving needs of its customers.

Magnetic Line is a certified line maintenance service provider, holding EASA Part-145 covering over 70 aircraft-engine combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in 27 different locations in Europe and Africa.

Meet the Team: Zhuoheng Zhong

Meet Zhuoheng Zhong, a Junior Quality Engineer in Direct Maintenance with a background in Aviation Studies and prior experience in the finance department of China Southern Airlines. In this interview, Zhuoheng shares her current responsibilities, the key qualities required for success in her role and the aviation industry, and her hobbies for relaxation. Let’s get to know her!

How did you end up working at Direct Maintenance, a member of Magnetic Group? Have you been working in the aviation industry before joining this team? 

After graduating from Aviation Studies, I was fortunate enough to secure a position at China Southern Airlines, where I worked in the finance department for over two years.

After completing my Master’s degree, I was determined to pursue a career in the aviation industry, and it was then that a job agency introduced me to Direct Maintenance.

What are the current responsibilities in your line of work? Additionally, what do you like the most and what do you find the most challenging?

I am primarily responsible for authorizations, Intelex-related tasks, and various administrative duties in my current role. One of the aspects of my job that I particularly enjoy is the opportunity to collaborate and interact with my colleagues in Amsterdam and other stations. However, I sometimes find it challenging to balance multiple tasks simultaneously.  

Which would be the key qualities one should have to be successful in your line of work? What personal qualities are important for those working in the aviation industry?

In Quality Assurance (QA), I believe certain qualities are essential for success. These include a precise approach, an eye for detail, objectivity, calmness under pressure, analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and a deep understanding of the aviation industry.

In addition to these qualities, I believe those working in the aviation industry should possess a range of personal qualities essential for success. These may include being practical, assertive, resilient, and passionate about aviation. The aviation industry is constantly evolving, and adaptability is important when facing unexpected challenges. 

What about your time here – how do you find the whole working atmosphere at our company?

The working atmosphere at our company is good, although it can be turbulent at times due to the fast-paced and dynamic nature of the aviation industry.

What are your hobbies for relaxing?

I enjoy listening to instrumental music, visiting cafes, and taking walks to relax. These activities help me unwind and clear my mind, allowing me to return to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of the aviation industry.

Meet the Team: Pim van Berkel

In this year’s first interview, we are introducing our Deputy Managing Director at Direct Maintenance, Pim van Berkel. Eager to know about his main professional challenges or work-life balance? Learn more about Pim in our Meet the Team feature!

How did your aviation career start? What was your experience prior to joining Direct Maintenance, a member of Magnetic Group?

I began my career in aviation at the age of 29 as the Finance Director for the airline DutchBird. We started with an empty office and a small management team of five in Haarlem. In the end, we had five aircraft (B757 and A320), over 350 employees, and 80 million in revenue. The September 11 attacks in the USA in 2001, one year after the airline’s launch, wreaked havoc but helped further my career at the same time. It was challenging to manage business performance because of the extreme volatility of the dollar and oil prices. The company filed for bankruptcy three years after 9/11, introducing me to the administrators and attorneys. The following years saw me working as an interim financial in various positions for different businesses. 

What did you know about Direct Maintenance prior to joining? What was your first impression when you joined?

It’s a funny question. Before joining, I had seven years of experience with Line Maintenance working for Nayak as a member of the Group Executive Board. Working as a competitor, I was always interested to see this company from the inside. Direct Maintenance had my interest because they had opened stations in Africa. In 2020, I got a call offering me a position in Direct Maintenance. I was happy to join and start in January 2021. I was eager to learn more about this business and use my experience to add value to the company.

My initial thoughts reflected how I perceived the company. It was run as a family business in entirely different market circumstances. The company employs many excellent, closely bonded individuals who service numerous strong flag carriers. There was little regulation of the processes, and certain management reports were missing. As Covid continued to control the market, expansion initiatives were on the horizon. We are building the bridge at the same time we are walking on it. However, all diamonds are made under pressure. So, without any excuses, let’s go make this the best line maintenance company in the world!

What are the main challenges in your line of work?

As the deputy managing director of these ten legal entities, it is currently a tremendous and very interesting challenge to maintain contact with all the employees, pursue the same goal and objectives together, and ensure satisfaction with their salaries and work-life balance. There are close to 200 employees representing many different cultures. Line Maintenance is a relationship-based industry unlike any other. It resembles a long train of people of different nationalities bound together by intangible magnets. We are unable to maximize our service and attain our maximum potential when one magnet doesn’t connect with the next. It’s an exciting challenge to keep people on board and help them understand our vision and mission while under the pressure of fierce competition.

What are your key goals for this year in your work?

Stabilization. The company experienced fast growth in 2021 and 2022 under considerable instability and investments. Also, numerous new employees joined the team. It’s time to find greater efficacy and efficiency now. 

However, my particular goal is to build a stable management team and solid organization that is prepared to take on a new home base operation in 2024, revitalizing the company and getting ready for better times. 

Besides work, what are your hobbies?

Well, I became a CrossFit level 1 trainer in 2020, and now I instruct CrossFit for four hours every weekend. My interests, which are primarily related to the weather in The Netherlands, include CrossFit and calisthenics. These can be practiced anywhere and every day. However, if you were to ask my heart, I would say that I like longboard surfing or snowboarding on a mountain in the frozen water (snow). I am eagerly looking forward to going skiing in February 2023. I’ve been snowboarding almost since it first became popular, and I enjoy watching it develop over time. 

And a bonus question – what are your top destinations to travel to?

That’s a nice question. As you might expect, I do prefer beaches. The Polynesian islands have grown to be my favourite location after a lot of travelling. I’ve also visited incredible places like Hawaii, Tahiti, and Bora Bora. 

Nevertheless, my roots are in Spain as my parents have a house over there, which I can call my second home. I love a good cortado in the morning and jamón serrano in the afternoon before taking a nap on the beach.

Meet the Team: Sebastian Schumacher

Sebastian Schumacher, Station Manager at Frankfurt, has been into aviation since he was a little boy. How did he end up in Direct Maintenance and what are the main challenges in his work now? Get to know Sebastian better as he answered these and a few other questions for our Meet The Team feature!

What was your path that led to aviation? How did you end up working at Direct Maintenance?

Since I was a little boy back in the 90s, while watching the B747, Galaxys and Airbuses landing in FRA, I was sure to work in the aviation industry. After more than 20 years with Lufthansa Technik, becoming a CAT B1 engineer, Shift Supervisor in the Line Maintenance Customer Department, Technical Expert on the Lufthansa MCC and working on several Airbus A380 and A350 projects, I decided to go back to the Line Maintenance Business at my „private homebase“ FRA.

What did you know about Direct Maintenance before you joined the company?

The brand „Direct Maintenance“ is well known in the Line Maintenance business. Happy customers and a very informative public relation media style from Magnetic Group and Direct Maintenance were well known. Also, running several stations in Europe and Africa, and handling a lot of well-known customers.

What was your impression of the company when you joined?

Coming from a very big MRO, I was looking forward to joining a smaller company just focusing on the Line Maintenance business only. Always receiving answers to my questions, and getting feedback in a very short time, which I really like. From the management to Finance, QA, HR, Sales, Station managers and engineers, of course, everybody within the company is very helpful. I feel the spirit of the company to have a solution to a problem without talking about it for too long.

What are the main challenges in your line of work, and how you’re handling them?

Becoming a station manager and opening a new station within just a few weeks was a big challenge. Keep the station running with staff planning, and relief planning to keep the quality standards of Direct Maintenance and the daily business with our customers is next. But in the end, it´s all about teamwork. The mindset „to think out of the box“ is very important for all of us. 

What would be the main achievement for you in your line of work?

To keep the station FRA running smoothly with the nice colleagues, I already have and getting more customers would be the main achievement for me right now.

Besides work, what are your hobbies and interests?

Besides aviation, my hobbies and interests are football, playing guitar and scale modeling. 

What is your go-to destination to travel to?

As a relief engineer and flight spanner, I saw the world. Sometimes my family was traveling with me. Besides these duty and holiday travels, I prefer to enjoy my days off on our small german island named Langeoog.

Meet the Team: Stephan Schulz

Besides work, Stephan Schulz, Deputy Quality Assurance Manager at Direct Maintenance, also likes that our organization has the commitment to spend time together. Get to know Stephan better as he answered a few questions for our Meet the Team feature!

How did your aviation career start? What was your experience prior to joining Direct Maintenance, member of Magnetic Group?

My first role was as a Quality Engineer at Part-145 components, after which I joined an airline as a Part-145 auditor (and other scopes and standards). In this role, I have been at a number of Line and Base Maintenance facilities around the globe. Prior to joining Direct Maintenance, I was Quality Assurance Manager at a component shop under a military Part-145. From these various roles, I bring with me experience, especially from the Part-145 background.

What did you know about Direct Maintenance prior to joining? What was your first impression when you joined?

I was familiar with the existence of Direct Maintenance and intended to audit one of the East-Africa stations on behalf of my former employer. Due to the ever-changing dynamics in the world, I haven’t had that opportunity yet. At my first impression, I entered the dynamic line maintenance world. Personally, this was a moment to switch again, but a lot of fun. Besides the work, I like that the organization also has the commitment to spend time together, such as organizing social events. 

What are the main challenges in your line of work?

There are numerous challenges within the QA profession which are happening in the “silent factory”. What matters most to the company is that QA processes support the operational processes in a 24/7 organization. The challenge lies mainly in the right division of attention in all areas, respecting our good reasons why we do things the way we do them. This also means that you have to prioritize your own work, even while eager to support others.

What are your key goals for this year in your work?

My main goal for this year is to work my way into the organization and work with the Quality Assurance Manager to reestablish the QA team. The challenge is mainly in not wanting to do everything at once because with big steps, the pitfalls are not seen. Step by step, we move forward.

Besides work, what are your hobbies?

I would have loved to tell you about my current hobbies. While I am busy with my part-time master’s program in management, it takes up my free time in the evenings and weekends. 

And bonus question – what are your top destinations to travel to?

If I had to choose today, I would surely love to go back to Cancun, Mexico and visit the inland from there.

Meet the Team: Morten Kriegsbaum

Meet our team – this time, we’d like to introduce Morten Kriegsbaum who joined Direct Maintenance as a station manager for a newly re-opened station in Copenhagen. Get to know Morten better and learn about challenges and plans in his line of work!

Can you tell us a bit about your experience working in aviation?

My aviation career started with education to become B1.1 aircraft technician at SAS – I have worked at this company for total 5,5years. Additionally, my experience consists of working in the Royal Danish Airforce with F-16 Fighting Falcon, working in the general aviation industry as well as working in a business jets/turboprop company with heavy maintenance, mods, STCs in close contact with Part-21 and CAMO.

And did you know anything about Direct Maintenance prior joining?

To be fair, not really – but then I got to form my impressions about the company not from hearing about it but from seeing it from the inside. And my first impression was that it is a worldwide company with a global presence, and it is exciting to become part of it!

So far, what would you consider to be the main challenges in your line of work? 

It is faced paced work – that is challenging in itself; it is global, too, thus keeping dialogue between countries and units can be challenging, but I am glad to see the company is prepared for those challenges.

What are your key goals for this year in your work? 

My main goal is to turn the Copenhagen station around and make positive results for this year to start strong on the next!

Besides work, what are your hobbies?

Besides aviation, I am big motocross, Harley Davidson, and American cars fan. And I also enjoy martial arts as well as general working out!

Direct Maintenance kicks-off line maintenance Support for FedEx Express in Nairobi, Kenya

Direct Maintenance, a Certified Line Maintenance Service Provider, member of Magnetic Group, announced the recent line maintenance support agreement between the company and FedEx Express, world’s largest express transportation company, at Nairobi Airport, Kenya. 

The recent agreement is both the first for Direct Maintenance and FedEx Express in Nairobi, and for the Direct Maintenance stations network, primarily focusing on transit checks for the B777 freighter.

“It has been a dream to work with the FedEx team and their support in the set-up phase has been phenomenal. To witness both our local Nairobi team and the FedEx teams working together to ensure a smooth set up has been exceptional, despite some delays we faced as a result of travel restrictions to Africa at the beginning of the year,” shared Victoria Goodenough, Head of Business Development at Direct Maintenance.

Daniel de Dardel, NBO, DAR and JRO Station Manager at Direct Maintenance, added that, “We at Direct Maintenance and the Nairobi station are very pleased to have been chosen by FedEx Express. We are looking forward to a great partnership. In addition, the FedEx team did a marvellous job introducing us to their maintenance system and aircraft handling – we could not be happier to welcome them to Nairobi!”

“Collaborating with new partners and investing in our collective future is how we deliver what’s next. Every relationship – big or small – is important to us, and to the team members who proudly deliver outstanding results”, Managing Director GSP and Direct-Serve Operations; Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Zaid Khammash.

MAGNETIC GROUP keeps the aviation business running with its suite of products for airlinesMROs, manufacturers and asset owners, and its business is divided into four distinctive sectors:

MAGNETIC CREATIVE provides design and manufacturing services, both aircraft interior and exterior parts. MAGNETIC ASSETS provides aircraft with engines, landing gears leasing, engine transportation stands and spare parts and components solutions. MAGNETIC MAINTENANCE provides aircraft line maintenance, base maintenance and aircraft engine maintenance repair and management. MAGNETIC TALENTS sector offers a full range of engineering and CAMO services and various industry-related EASA Part-147 training. 

Meet the Team: Andre Vosgrau

From an early age, Andre Vosgrau, Licensed Engineer at Direct Maintenance Hamburg station, knew he would want to work close to the aircraft – thus, every day at work for him is a reminder of the dream that came true.
Get to know Andre better as he answered a few questions for our Meet The Team feature!

Andre, how did you get into aviation in the first place?

Andre Vosgrau: Almost as long as I remember, I wanted to work on the aircraft – originally, though, I wanted to become a pilot. A while back, there were very convenient pilot training programs in Germany, and I had my eyes set on one of those programs, but unfortunately, the program has been cancelled. Looking into other options, I have decided to then pursue an aviation engineer career. And that’s how I ended up studying and working at one of the MROs, and then gradually moved from working at the hangar to joining Direct Maintenance team for line maintenance services.

What would you name as the main challenges in your line of work?

AV: There are a lot of unknowns each day in our line of work – thus, you always have to be ready to react fast and be quick on your feet. This is challenging – but also probably one of the most exciting parts of my work. I enjoy that there is no monotony – and you keep on learning and improving every day.
Working as a ground engineer require a lot of training too – in the first place, if you want to take your career to the next level, you at least have to finish Type Training and On-The-Job training. It may be challenging while you’re on the job already, but I am glad here at Direct Maintenance, professional development is the priority, so I had a chance to travel to Tallinn to take training with Magnetic Training, and as a result, from the end of last year, I became Licensed Technician.

And then besides work, what are your hobbies?

AV: In my free time, I usually go out with friends, drive Go-Kart, and I am a huge fan of Formula 1, so I try to watch all races whenever possible. On top of that, I started a part-time job at a company which is doing aircraft inspections at the Airbus factory in Hamburg on behalf of their applicable customers. As dealing with aircraft is my hobby anyway, it is a nice thing to do in my free time as I get different challenges to deal with over there.

And what would be your dream destination – or favourite destination – to travel to?

AV: I have had the chance to visit many places on earth before, but Australia is a place which I have never visited yet, but I would really like to visit.

Meet the Team: Stephan Golembiewski

No day is the same as the previous one – that‘s just one of the things Stephan Golembiewski, Ground Engineer at Direct Maintenance Berlin station, enjoys in his line of work. 

Get to know Stephan better – check out his interview!

How did you end up in aviation? Tell us about the start of your aviation career?

I have been fascinated by aviation since my very first visit to the ILA (Berlin Air Show) back in 1996, although I had never flown in an airplane at that time. During my school days, I realized that I didn’t want to have a 9-to-5 job sitting at a desk all day long, so I drew the right conclusions after school, merged those preferences and started my work in aviation in 2003. To this day, I do not regret going this route!

How long have you been part of the Direct Maintenance family? What do you enjoy the most about working here? What would you name as the biggest challenge?

First 15 years of my career, I have been employed by the airline. But then the situation changed, and I found myself looking for new career opportunities. I became part of Direct Maintenance in June 2019. What I found there was a great team with open-minded people and a very positive, can-do attitude.
I also found many challenges – as a part of our business, you have to adapt to different aircraft types and different airline procedures several times a day, which can be challenging every once in a while, but at the same it, you always feel like you are learning, improving.

What do you enjoy the most in your line of work?

The best thing about my job is that no two days are the same. It offers a wide variety of activities, and you never know which the next call-in will bring to you.

And besides work, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

At this point, my family is my all-time hobby. I enjoy being at home and spending quality time with family and friends. Besides that, I enjoy travelling, reading, cycling and music. And photography, too!

What are your top destinations to travel to?

10 years ago, I did a round trip through South America, visiting Chile, Argentina and Brasil. It has been my favourite trip till now. I also enjoy the Baltic Sea during the winter season!

Direct Maintenance and Berlin Neuhardenberg Airport join forces with a new commercial aircraft storage solution

Direct Maintenance, member of Magnetic Group, the certified line maintenance service provider, holding EASA Part-145 covering over 70 aircraft-engine combinations and Berlin Neuhardenberg Airport, (EDON) a special purpose airport, located one hour to the east of Berlin, close to the town of Neuhardenberg, have recently announced the launch of a new commercial aircraft storage solution.

The storage solution consists of:

  • Parking space for up to 17 narrow-body aircraft 
  • Parking space for up to 10 wide-body aircraft B787 / A330
  • Hangar availability for aircraft size Boeing 737, Airbus A320
  • EASA/FAA and other approvals
  • CAMO support available
  • On site crew hotel
  • 2.400 m x 50 m concrete runway
  • Load capacity and surfacing PCN 53
  • Highly secure facility, dedicated ramp area for aircraft storage
  • 24 hour operating license
  • Convenient central European location

“Direct Maintenance has a very strong presence in the Berlin area where we provide line maintenance support for a number of commercial airlines. Aircraft storage and CAMO is an important and growing part of our business and the opportunity to grow this area of our business in Berlin at Neuhardenberg Airport, where we can expand further into offering more wide-body and narrow-body storage, plus airframe and engine support is something we consider to be well received by commercial airlines, leasing companies and across the wider aerospace sector,” shared Victoria Goodenough, Head of Business Development at Direct Maintenance.

“Berlin Neuhardenberg Airport is excited to collaborate with Direct Maintenance to grow our commercial aircraft storage business together. We see the success Direct Maintenance has had in other locations with similar facilities and look forward to sharing further success  together. With a location close to Berlin and BER airport, combined with Direct Maintenance quality and expertise, we believe we offer a solution together with is  something special for our customers,” added Andre Morrall, Director Business Development at Neuhardenberg Airport.

Currently, Direct Maintenance covers over 70 aircraft combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in 27 different locations in Europe and Africa.

The state of Line Maintenance industry

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider and member of Magnetic Group, has been successfully navigating the industry’s demand by opening new stations and adding new services to its portfolio. Undoubtedly, this success requires great industry knowledge and agility while tackling the upcoming challenges. Thus, to learn valuable tips and insights about the Line Maintenance industry, we sought expert help and interviewed Kaspars Podins, Head of the Production at Direct Maintenance. 

What are the recent challenges the Line Maintenance team is tackling? What takeaways do we have so far?

Like any MRO today, the most significant challenges are labour shortages and the procurement of highly skilled workers. Especially after the Covid-19 year, engineers had limited working options to keep their skills up to date due to the reduced flights by airlines, closing stations, etc. 

Also, the Aviation MRO industry has already started this year to be ‘chained’ by a lack of maintenance engineers and mechanics, leading to an increase in maintenance costs by MRO, which is inevitably reflected in the final costs incurred by airlines.

In tackling the issue, the answer lies with enhanced optimization practices and processes within MRO and the implementation of advanced software solutions.

All the world is going towards digitalization and automation – but aviation still seems to be old-school, and line maintenance seems relatively unchanged. How is it from the inside? Are there any innovations being deployed?

In Direct Maintenance, we have developed an internal process that allows daily monitoring of our stations and business data, reacting in real-time without holding extensive meetings and discussions.

Moreover, for Direct Maintenance adopting new practices and revising processes are top priorities. Besides, implementing newer technologies is on the list of our priorities. Changes are always constant, as continuous improvements are Magnetic Group’s proactive approach. New developments will happen within the organization in the upcoming few years.

What services are in demand currently? What influences the demand (maybe, for example, parking currently, or other?)

Direct Maintenance is continuously participating in airline tenders. Today’s highest demand is for maintenance services. Consequently, we focus on quality services in our current stations and opening line maintenance stations in new countries. Also, continued demand is for aircraft parking/storage services with re-delivery or transition packages. 

On top of this, Direct Maintenance is performing Ferry Flight support to customers in challenging regions under strict restrictions. 

As European countries have different regulations and never-ending changes to restrictions, airlines are now using the opportunities to establish routes, and MRO must be ready to provide line maintenance services.

What are the key things to consider when setting up a new station? What are the further expansion plans for Direct, including new stations?

For a professional MRO, it is necessary to adapt to customer requests and allocate available maintenance personnel and tooling based on demand. Thus, high importance lies in adapting to the new standard on short notice. Overall, the key takeaways are the exact processes in place, the ability to adapt to any changes, a proactive approach, and high discipline. With all listed, everything is feasible.

Regarding the expansion plans, we are currently expanding in Nordic countries. These plans are solely based on customer demand. Other projects will come along from 2023 onwards.

Direct Maintenance continues its expansion in Germany by opening new line maintenance station in Munich

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic Group, announced the recent opening of the new Line Maintenance station in Munich Airport, Germany.

In the past few months, company has opened several Line Maintenance stations in Germany, including stations in Frankfurt and Hannover airports, making. Recently opened line maintenance station in Munich is 8thstation in Germany where company will be providing line maintenance service on various types of narrow and wide body aircraft, including A320, A330, A350, B737NG, B777 and B787. The scope of services in the station includes scheduled and unscheduled line maintenance, daily transit checks, turn around services as well as technical assistance.

„We continue developing and growing Direct Maintenance in Germany  – we notice that the flights volume is increasing and we notice changes in the German market thus we are proactively expanding within the region. In addition, we keep on working hard on the new endeavours in other locations too, thus we are looking forward to sharing latest developments in the nearest future,“ shared Jacco Klerk, Managing Director at Direct Maintenance.

Direct Maintenance covers over 70 aircraft combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in 27 different locations in Europe and Africa.

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