Interview with Sebastian Schumacher, Maintenance Manager of FRA

In the past several months, Direct Maintenance had exciting developments in Germany. One of them is the line maintenance station opening in Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Thus, while the station is up and running, we took a chance to interview Sebastian Schumacher, the maintenance manager of Frankfurt station. Indeed, his contribution made FRA station opening and operations exceptionally sound. Read the interview below and learn more about Schumacher, the career path that led him to Direct Maintenance, his first impressions of the company, and more.

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

When I was a little boy back in the nineties, while watching the B747, Galaxy’s and Airbuses landing in Frankfurt (FRA) airport, I became certain that I wanted to seek a career in the aviation industry. This dream led me to work with Lufthansa Technik for over twenty years. First, I became CAT B1 engineer, then Shift Supervisor in the Line Maintenance Customer Department; after that, I was promoted to Technical Expert on the Lufthansa Multi-Crew Cooperations (MCC), working on several Airbus A380 and A350 projects. Nevertheless, after a few decades with Lufthansa Technik, I decided to return to the Line Maintenance Business at my loved “private home base” in Frankfurt, FRA.

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

No secret that the brand “Direct Maintenance” is well-known in the Line Maintenance Business. The company has happy customers, besides a very informative public relations media style from Direct Maintenance and Magnetic Group, in general, is not left unnoticed in the industry. On top of this, I was aware of several stations of Direct Maintenance in Europe and Africa that handle many prominent high-end customers.

What was your impression of the company when you joined in?

Coming from a vast MRO company, I was looking forward to joining a smaller company that focuses only on the Line Maintenance business. In Direct Maintenance, I received answers to my questions from the beginning and got helpful feedback in no time. I appreciate it. From the management to Finance, Quality Assurance, Human Resources, Sales, managers and engineers – everybody is accommodating. Moreover, I feel the company’s spirit – they have efficient solutions to even severest problems without talking about it for way too long. 

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

Becoming a station manager and opening a new station in just a few weeks was a big challenge for me. Now, when this is handled, keeping the station running with new staff, relief planning to maintain the high-quality standards of Direct Maintenance, and of course, the station’s daily business will be the new challenges. Nevertheless, it is all about teamwork at the end of the day, and I think we will overcome any upcoming challenges as the mindset “to think outside the box” is very important for us.

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

To keep the FRA station running smoothly with the help of my colleagues and attract more customers would be my achievement objectives at the moment.

Besides work, what are your hobbies and interests?

Outside aviation, I enjoy football, playing the guitar, also scale modelling.

What is your go-to destination to travel to?

With my former employer, I had the opportunity to see the world due to being a flying engineer with the German air force, also Licensed Aircraft Engineer reliefs to other stations, including one in Amsterdam Airport (AMS), and family holidays abroad. In contrast, I prefer to go to the small German island called „Langeoog“ during my days off and annual summer vacation.

Experience Direct Maintenance: interview with intern Vincent Mulenga

This month, we have interviewed a Direct Maintenance intern from our station in Lusaka – Vincent Mulenga. Vincent shares his first impressions about the company and memorable experiences from the internship at Direct Maintenance.

How did you end up doing an internship at Direct Maintenance?

I found out about the operations of Direct Maintenance from my former college – and using recommendation from the the college, I have joined the company as intern. And I really enjoy it as supervision is excellent!

What are your expectations what do you hope to learn during the internship?

I want to become a competent and professional Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – so I am hoping to gain as much experience as I can to reach my goal.

What is your first impression of Direct Maintenance as an employer? Did you already had some memorable moments during the internship?

I have strong feeling that Direct Maintenance is providing hight standard working conditions – and I also enjoy the pace here!

And when thinking about memorable experience, I actually had it on my first day – I did Arrival/Dispatch Headset procedure and find it all very interesting – still have fond memories of the first day!

Are there any tips you could give to others who are interested in internship opportunities at Direct Maintenance?

Once you get the opportunity to learn at work, make sure you’re very attentive to the tasks and information given by Engineers – you can learn a lot from them!


Direct Maintenance expansion in Africa: station re-opened in Kilimanjaro to serve Edelweiss

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic Group, announced the restart of their Line Maintenance activites in Africa with the recent re-opening of the Line Maintenance station in Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. The Line Maintenance station was launched due to the maintenance service agreement between Direct Maintenance and Edelweiss, Switzerland’s leading leisure travel airline.

Direct Maintenance will be providing line maintenance services  for airline’s A340 fleet in both Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport  in Zanzibar (ZNZ), and will be performing daily checks , weekly checks and transit checks.

„When thinking about the expansion, we are focusing not only on Europe, but also in Africa – and the latest agreement with Edelweiss which lead to the establishment of permanent line maintenance station in Kilimanjaro is a good example of our continuous efforts to scale up in the region. I am very pleased that Edelweiss has decided to trust their fleet to our skilled professionals not only in Tanzania, but also in Zanzibar – and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship,“ shared Mandeep Rana, Head of Sales 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.

Experience Direct Maintenance: interview with intern Max Didden

This month, we have interviewed a Direct Maintenance intern from Maastricht station – Max Didden. Max shares his first impressions about the company and memorable experiences from the internship at Direct Maintenance.

How did you end up at Direct Maintenance for your internship?

First, I applied for an internship at Direct Maintenance in Dusseldorf. Unfortunately, at that station, there were no open positions for an internship. However, because of the showed interest in working at Direct Maintenance, I was sent to Cologne station. Still, as the station just recently opened, it was impossible to start there. Luckily, after being forwarded to Maastricht station, I was hired for the internship at Direct Maintenance.  

What do you think of the way you are supervised as an intern at Direct Maintenance?

It is my first internship. Thus, like all beginners in the industry, at first, I spent much more time observing than actually doing something in practice. However, the more days have passed, the more my knowledge and understanding developed. Consequently, now, I get to do more practical tasks. I am very thankful for my colleagues, as they constantly explain aircraft features and systems or how to perform a specific task correctly – they ensure my improvement!

What do you hope to learn from your internship?

My primary intention for this internship was to see how line maintenance differs from base maintenance. At the moment, I think line maintenance bring more challenges due to the broad work scope. Nevertheless, I hope to combine the theory from the university with practice at Direct Maintenance and successfully learn as much as possible about aircraft systems.

What is your impression of DirectMaintenance as an employer?

My first impression was that Direct Maintenance is an exciting company with many stations worldwide and a great place to work. To this day, I can say that it is true. Indeed, you can continue to learn at Direct Maintenance: there are many career opportunities, such as getting your license for a particular aircraft type.  

What was the most memorable thing you experienced during your internship?

In the short four weeks that I have been at Direct Maintenance, there was a lightning strike in one of the engines. I had never seen actual damage from a lightning strike, so I truly gained a new memorable experience. We searched for the impact point of the lightning strike because the output of the lightning was clearly visible.

What tip can you give to other interns at Direct Maintenance?

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, ASK THEM. An internship is meant for learning. Thus, if you don’t understand something or want to get an explanation of the aircraft system, just ask. Even if the question is to show/explain the theory you learned at university (as they often lack the needed facilities to demonstrate aircraft systems in real life), I think your colleagues will be glad to help.

Developments in Germany: Direct Maintenance announced opening of the new Line Maintenance stations in Frankfurt and Munich

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, announced the recent expansion within Germany with scheduled opening of two new Line Maintenance stations in Frankfurt and Munich airports.

Two new stations in Germany are the latest developments since the company has start operating  in Cologne-Bonn airport since July 1 2021. Line maintenance stations will be providing line maintenance services for variety of narrow and wide body aircraft types, including B787, A350. B777, A330, A320.  

„This year, we have been and are still busy working out our future strategic plans on developing and growing Direct Maintenance in Germany and beyond. We are confident because of the ongoing customer service success our team deliver to our clients, staged re-emerging post-pandemic flights and changes in the German market thus we are proactively expanding within the region. Also, we will continue to support our ongoing investments in our existing stations, extending our capabilities to serve more aircraft types and airlines across a network of stations. Next to Germany, we do have more and other plans across Europe and Africa, too – and we are looking forward to announce further expansion in months to come,” shared Jacco Klerk, CEO & Managing Director at Direct Maintenance.

Together with Magnetic MRO Line Maintenance, Direct Maintenance now covers over variety of aircraft and engine combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in over 20 different locations in Europe and Africa.

Expanding partnerships: Direct Maintenance providing line maintenance services for China Southern Airlines in Africa

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, announced the recent expansion of their partnership agreement with China Southern Airlines, one of Asia’s leading airlines and taking over full technical handling of the operator’s fleet line maintenance services in Nairobi, Kenya.

„This is the first time a Chinese aircraft has been fully handled by an authorized third-party line maintenance provider in Africa, “ said Jacco Klerk, Managing Director at Direct Maintenance, about a true joint landmark achievement.

Since 2015 Direct Maintenance has provided line maintenance technical support and related logistics services for A330 on the Changsha-Nairobi route for China Southern Airlines.

„Direct Maintenance has won a spontaneous recognition from China Southern’s team and their supervisors, by efficient and high-calibre line maintenance services, its rapid and independent emergency response mechanism, and customized exclusive service plans as well, which laid a solid foundation for the strengthened cooperation between China Southern Airlines and Direct Maintenance,“ expressed Alfred Wang, Customer Service Manager at Direct Maintenance.

According to Wang, Direct Maintenance is the only line maintenance provider holding FAA Repair Station approval in Kenya and various other African countries, also was the first ever to support B787 line maintenance in Kenya.

„I am very pleased with the recent extension of the partnership with China Southern as it is a great indicator of the mutual trust between two companies which has been developing ever since our cooperation in Nairobi started in 2015. It is also an important milestone for both our team in NBO as well as to the whole company, and we are excited to start this new chapter,“ shared Mandeep Rana, Head of Sales at Direct Maintenance.

Direct Maintenance covers over 70 aircraft and engine combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in over 20 different locations in Europe and Africa.

Continuing with the growth during the uncertain times

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unseen challenges to the aviation industry. However, the Direct Maintenance team tackled the risen difficulties as true experts of the field. During the pandemic, Direct Maintenance not only started to provide new services but even opened new Line Maintenance Stations and signed numerous significant service agreements. Curious about this success, we interviewed Mandeep Rana, the head of Sales at Direct Maintenance, to discover the insights of dealing with challenges efficiently and developing new partnerships during these uncertain times.

As the past year has been challenging for virtually all companies within the aviation industry, can you share what you’d see as the main challenges of the past year? How did you and your team cope with these challenges? 

The main challenge was the significant drop in flights in early March 2020. At the sales department, we prioritized searching for alternative revenue streams – and, as there were still some repatriation and cargo flights, we started serving these types of airlines. We supported many ‘’unusual’’ airlines and/or aircraft types operating into the DMX stations, which was actually a challenge but having various well multi-licensed engineers at our stations, we could accommodate these customers easily. Simultaneously, most Airlines were parking their whole fleet, we successfully helped airlines and leasing companies in this process, even though it was a first-time experience for us.

What are the main trends in customer’s requirements influenced by the pandemic? Which of these trends are here to stay?

The pandemic caused three main trends. The first one is parking maintenance, which occurred because of an insufficient number of passenger flights. The trend should largely vanish when people start travelling again as pre-COVID-19. Also, the most uneconomic passenger aircraft will gradually be taken out of service because the newer generation aircraft allow better fuel efficiency and other environmental benefits. We can see that older aircraft models like B747, B767, B737 are being phased out, while newer models A320Neo, B737MAX, A350, B787 have been utilized efficiently during the crisis for repatriation flights or even cargo flights. Secondly, airlines increasingly outsource their maintenance activities to third parties and prioritize flexible and agile support from MRO rather than low prices. But also ensure growth and focus of their core business. Lastly, disinfection of the interior of the cabin services occurred to ensure the virus particles were removed from the aircraft and sanitation of the interior. These last two trends should remain.

What would find to be the key elements in successful partnerships between clients and service providers?

There are many key elements involved from which respect and acceptance of differences, followed by trust, transparency, communication, proactiveness, and collective commitment to resolve the issues and reach a mutual agreement are a few examples. 

What, in your experience, are the key drivers of success stories: what actions and qualities lead to new contracts and growth?

To begin with, constant engagement with customers is essential: attention and communication create a bond that results in business. Being realistic and honest is also crucial because transparency ensures mutual commitment. In addition, showing our unique characteristics instead of pulling competitors down is mandatory. 

Our way of dealing with customers brought new contracts and contract extensions for the company. A recent example is, after providing many years of high-quality Line Maintenance Services at Dublin, and investment in the relationship, the operator, who would typically sign up with another company, selected Direct Maintenance as their preferred provider for Amsterdam.

What are the future plans for the company in terms of expansion, new stations, new clients, etc.?

We are currently working on the one-line maintenance project: all Magnetic MRO stations will be rebranded to Direct Maintenance, adding locations to the network. We are also communicating with new and existing customers at the moment for some new exciting projects, so stay tuned for news to come!

Do you have your predictions for the aviation industry’s recovery? How long would it take to reach pre-pandemic levels?

I hope that in 2021 flights come back with 70% of the 2019 volume. In 2022, flights should return even more: people couldn’t travel abroad for more than a year and a half because of the pandemic. Thus, now it is time to fly again! 

One Line Maintenance: Direct Maintenance and Magnetic MRO integrate their capabilities

Magnetic MRO, a Total Technical Care and Asset Management organization, has announced that it has integrated its line maintenance capabilities with Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO.

In January 2021, Magnetic MRO started the movement of its Tallinn based line maintenance, together with respective outstations, under Direct Maintenance. 

„We see strong demand and interest from the market that airlines are pivoting to independent line-maintenance providers offering a more comprehensive range of solutions across a strategic network of stations. While pricing remains an important element, solution when needed, where needed in this recovery enviroment is observed as a key element – a perfect match with the DNA of Direct Maintenance.  

Our divisions have combined a solid reputation in the market ranging from regional- to narrow- and wide-body aircraft line-maintenance, including home-based and heavy line-maintenance with a wide range of services for AOG, ad-hoc, modifications, parking/storage and lease transitions. By aligning these excellent capabilities for our customers, we provide a wealth of services to the industry with a single buy-in. We are on the move to becoming a preferred customer choice as a leading independent line maintenance organization enhanced by passioned and motivated team,“ shared Jacco Klerk, CEO at Direct Maintenance.

After the integration, the group’s line maintenance capabilities extends to providing services in 20+ stations globally, it covers an impressive 70+ aircraft and engine combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380. B787, B747-8, as well as progress into new generation of aircraft, covering Airbus A330NEO and Boeing B777-X, and gearing up for further expansion on stations internationally. 

„The succeses of our joint teams in the past period, speak dividend in our approach of “we can, we do and we care” towards our clients, maintained aircraft and our valued personnel. I can not credit enough our people for their dedication and elements of fun we have to underline our ambition and passion.

Although it just started, we already see some promising initial results and are looking forward to completing the integration and transition in 2022. Together with the integration, we have strengthened and expanded our station capabilities and our commercial and operations zorganization to drive our business success forward,“ added Mr Klerk.

Risto MäeotsCEO at Magnetic MRO, also shared „We noticed that an airline is often stranded with numerous service providers, each with its own ‘handwriting’. And we had to admit that market was offering what is convenient for service providers, not what customers actually need. From consolidating our existing line maintenance under one leadership to the future global growth in network, we will absolutely praise the challenge to be pioneer and to offer comfort in every aspect – thus we praise this next step we are taking togeher with Direct Maintenance“.

On with the growth: Direct Maintenance opens new line maintenance station in Cologne-Bonn Airport

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, announced the recent opening of their latest line maintenance station in Cologne-Bonn Airport (Germany). The new station began its operation on 1st of July, 2021.

The recently opened line maintenance station, which is 4th Direct Maintenance station in Germany alongside stations in Dusseldorf (DUS), Berlin (BER) and Hamburg (HAM) Airport, will be covering line maintenance services for B747, B757, B767 and MD-11 type aircraft, including bespoke home-base line maintenance concept in supporting a logistic turnkey fleet operation. In the coming period Direct Maintenance will also provide In CGN line maintenance for the wide range of Airbus (A320/A330/A350/A380), Boeing (737/B787) and Embraer (Embraer 170/190) aircraft types.

„The recent launch of the new station in Cologne-Bonn Airport is indeed a great milestone for us – especially during turbulent times. Our approach hasn’t change during the pandemic, as always we try to partner up for the long-term and to invest in the customers’ needs – and we continue looking into the new expansion opportunities,“ shared Mandeep Rana, Head of Sales at Direct Maintenance.

Together with Magnetic MRO Line Maintenance, Direct Maintenance now covers over 70 aircraft and engine combinations, including A320NEO, A350-900/1000, A380, B737 MAX, B747-8 and B787 in 17 different locations in Europe and Africa.

Meet the Team: Alfred Wang

Alfred Wang, Customer Service Manager for China, is a team player with a flair for culture and communication – and he’s always here to take the extra steps to improve the understanding between colleagues here. Also, he’s avidly discovering different cultures – and has many stories to tell from his career in aviation and beyond. Get to know Alfred better and check out his interview!

Why did you choose aviation as your career path? And how did you start working at Direct Maintenance?   

Alfred Wang: I graduated from the Civil Aviation University of China with, major in Aircraft Material Sciences, and my aviation career started with me working as an Aircraft Structure Engineer in China Eastern Airlines. I thought being an aircraft engineer is one of the coolest careers in the world, which makes my family – and myself – so proud!

After being an MCC engineer for 5 years, I was transferred to the aircraft leasing department where I worked as a project manager:  this experience of another 5 years in the leasing industry has opened my eyes and mind much wider as I had a chance to meet and work with so many excellent domestic as well as international leasing teams from all over the world. During this time, I have received an offer to join the Direct Maintenance team – and have been part of it ever since!

What are your main responsibilities in your role? What do you like the most in your work? 

AW: I joined Direct Maintenance in 2019 as a management team member, and my main responsibility is to maintain Direct Maintenance, Magnetic MRO and Hangxin synergy. In addition, I also work with the sales team here at Direct Maintenance and explore more business potentials from all Chinese carriers. I think what I most enjoy from my work is that I always feel excited working with the fantastic international teams with so many different cultural backgrounds, learning from them and sharing with each other all interesting stuff – and, of course, the work itself is interesting as well!

What would you say are the biggest challenges in your work? 

AW: Making teammates understand each other better is the biggest challenge: the cultural diversities in the Direct Maintenance family is intriguing! It sometimes causes some misunderstandings – but avoiding being my-culture-centred I love to put myself in other’s positions and think from different angles – and this helps to improve the preciseness and efficiency of communication!

Can you share your best memory from working in aviation or in Direct Maintenance?

AW: The Chinese New Year of the Ox was celebrated in the Netherlands – it is the most important festival for every Chinese, however, due to the travelling restriction I could not fly back to China for the reunion with my parents. I felt so heart-warmed when I received so many blessings from so many Direct Maintenance people on Chinese New Year eve – at that moment, I felt like I was the happiest man in the world. 

Besides the aviation, what are your other passions? What are your hobbies, special interests? 

AW: For me, it’s writing. I can always find joy, harmony and peace inside of me through writing.

Besides this, I also enjoy reading and learning new skills – and don’t miss out on gym sessions!

What is your favorite destination to travel to?

AW: Honestly – all! I would very like to travel to all European countries, meet different people and experience different cultures.

Do you have a favorite motto or quote that you apply in your life?

AW: “If I am unable to lengthen my lifetime, then widen it.” This is a particularly good quote for me as I don’t want a life I spend just sitting in our place – and I think this is also the reason why I left China and came to the Netherlands.

Meet the Team: Eddah Waweru

Get to our team better!

This time, Eddah Waweru, aircraft mechanic working at Direct Maintenance station in Mombasa, shares her experience about working with us (and not only!). Eddah believes that no profession is gender-specific thus in aviation and all other industries both male and female can thrive and reach for their dreams. And that’s what she is doing – enjoying every moment of the path she has chosen, led by curiosity!

Why did you choose aviation as your career path?

Eddah Waweru: Curiosity! When I was in middle school, I attended a school that was located not too close to the airport, but you could see and hear aircraft flying over. That always raised so many questions for me: what makes it possible for that big thing to fly, from land to air and stay afloat with no support? Why the bird-like shape? What are they made of? How do people survive in it? I needed answers to satisfy my curiosity (and this curious cat is still alive) – and that is why aviation had to be the path for me.

How did you start working at Direct Maintenance?

EW: I started working at Direct Maintenance in Nairobi station as an intern in 2015. Due to the local authority regulations, you were allowed to work as an intern for a period of six months unless the company chooses to extend your pass. Fortunately for me, Direct Maintenance extended my pass for a few additional months after which I left the company to continue my studies. 

However, I still kept in contact with the Direct Maintenance family as they contributed greatly to who I am today. And a while ago, the company had an opening and I was lucky to be invited back – this time around as an aircraft mechanic in Mombasa station. Now we are here, keeping safe and growing strong together.

What are the main responsibilities in your role?

EW: My role as an aircraft mechanic is to enhance safety in the aviation industry by maintaining standards of the highest level in aircraft maintenance and servicing. My key duties are to perform line maintenance tasks, that is transit/preflight checks for contracted airlines including daily and weekly checks that are within the limits of the tasks specified in the aircraft maintenance program and to ensure all tasks are done in compliance with company policies, CAA regulations and customer requirements. Line maintenance tasks entail scheduled unscheduled maintenance, routine aircraft structure, power plant and mechanical and electrical systems inspection checks to prove their serviceability, routine aircraft lubrication, replenishment of all system fluids (water/oil/gases) as well as refuelling. Also, it contains basic avionics fault diagnosis and replacement, removal and installation of various aircraft system components in accordance with the applicable manuals – and much more!

What do you like the most in your work?

EW: That it is a hands-on type of work. You get involved actively and personally, mostly by use of hands in doing several maintenance tasks and adequately learning a new skill or procedures during this process. Every day is a good learning experience that allows you to acquire, grow and build on your abilities as well as on your character while faced with daily challenges. 

I also like learning at work as it helps me to get better and better: I have recently acquired my EASA Part 66 License and looking forward to the qualification privileges that come with the certificate authorization. It is just but the beginning of the best that is yet to come.

What would you say are the biggest challenges in your work?

EW:  Time. When it comes to line maintenance, time is of the essence. All maintenance procedures should be over and done within the specified period of time – aircraft ground time. One needs to be very proactive, vigilant and fast while performing various maintenance procedures to avoid delays at any cost. A delay due to maintenance means a delay in flight departure.  Maintenance delays mostly happen when the aircraft has a snag, and the procedure requires more ground time or when the engineer declares the aircraft is unfit to fly.

Weather also can play a big role: it’s an external factor that we have no control over and work still needs to be done. We operate and perform tasks on the apron where the aircraft is parked, meaning you work out in the open –  on rainy days it can be very chaotic and unpleasant. You need to be extremely careful while working in such an environment in order to avoid accidents and hazards both to yourself and the aircraft.

Additionally, at work, we need various types of equipment to facilitate different type of tasks and assist in accessing different zones of different aircraft types. For example, lack of the correct towing bar for a specified type of aircraft means no towing until the right equipment is made available – and this is where delay can occur.

We face many challenges in my line of work but the goal is to overcome them and successfully perform your tasks – each day!

Can you share your best memory from working in aviation/ in Direct maintenance?

EW: Back in 2015, when I was working as an intern, one engineer made all of the freshers bring along a notebook and pen while on his shift and working on the aircraft. You would never imagine leaving school for another school back at work. It was always class-time with him – he once made us draw an aircraft and name all the parts. I used to look forward to his shifts as it was always an interactive and fun session. It might look weird, but it actually was a great take on teaching for accountability and learning purposes and that facilitated who I am today. I cherish such a memory because it built a character and habit in me. You will never miss seeing me with a notebook and pen!

Besides the aviation, what are your other passions?

EW: Social work and community development – especially working with children and families as a non-formal volunteer. Through volunteering one can gain new skills, broaden your own skills, develop new interests and become more involved with the community. I love giving back to the community – especially my time. You are blessed to be a blesser. I feel like our purpose is to put a smile – it is also the best makeup – on someone’s face and let love lead in everything you do. “I am because you are, and you are because I am”.

I also really enjoy farming! I started small scale poultry farming with a few chickens in the countryside now when the pandemic hit – it’s challenging but I am excited and hopeful!

What other hobbies you have?

EW:  Swimming, dancing and working out to maintain a healthy lifestyle – as the saying goes, health the new wealth. 

I have special interests in acquiring more knowledge in handling maintenance of various types of aircraft, especially the A320 and B787; enhancing my knowledge about the aviation industry in general. I also like mat knitting and I am a bit motorsports fan, including Formula 1!

What are your favorite destinations to travel to?

EW: Take me to Tanzania – their beaches are wonderful and the people very polite. Or Nigeria – their culture is very unique and profound. Also, Las Vegas – a city that knows no night or day and almost everyone is a tourist. That’s the best part!

Do you have a favorite motto or quote that you apply in your life?

EW: I have many that I meditate on and affirm myself with depending on the circumstances – but this one stands out for me: “Better is not good enough, the best is yet to come”.

Meet The Team: Mutta Yildirim

Mutta Yildirim, Sales and Marketing Support Officer here at Direct Maintenance joined us just a few months ago – but it has already been an interesting ride for him! Get to know him better!

Let’s take-off with a traditional question: what was the path that led you to aviation industry?

Mutta Yildirim: After graduation with my bachelor degree in business administration in 2016, I jumped into this industry – I think was fascinating from the start, but became even more special throughout these years, so I think I’ll stay in this industry for a long time!

Why did you choose to join Direct Maintenance?

MY: Because I am ready for new challenges! One of the main reasons for me joining this team was the plans of the board to grow and expand as a company and that’s a challenge I want to be part of. Also, I like to work in an international environment with people from different countries, and gladly I have this opportunity to work with colleagues from all over the world.

 Also, I want to develop myself, keep growing – and also be of help to the team. And I think I can achieve that being part of Direct Maintenance.

What would you consider to be the main challenges at work – and industry?

MY: Currently, there are a lot of movements going on in the aviation industry, and I think this is a time to be flexible and agile as a company to establish in tomorrow’s world. Yes, the situation itself because of the pandemic and uncertainty it brings is challenging for companies and for the industry – but then there are also plenty of opportunities for us to innovate and look for the best solutions together.

Let‘s move away from work – share your hobbies and other interests, besides aviation!

MY: I enjoy playing and watching football – in my free time I never skip a game of my 2 favourite football clubs Ajax and Besiktas. Also, I love to sail in the canals of Amsterdam and have recently got my first boat!

At the weekends and nights, I spend a lot of time in my small e-commerce business that I own since the beginning of the pandemic. I can proudly say that I don’t see this as work but more like a hobby because I enjoy creating things and spend time developing myself.

Do you have a motto or favorite saying?

MY: Yes, I do! “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

The road to recovery: how the state of the aviation industry has been shaped by the pandemic?

Interview with Jacco Klerk, CEO at Direct Maintenance

In your opinion, what are the key elements for the “recovery phase” within the aviation industry to kick? Can you share your predictions on the path of the recovery?

Jacco Klerk: In the recent period, we have seen a low passenger flight demand, airlines changing their used equipment frequently, and we as service providers to provide flexible solutions. This means we need to be flexible to adapt to our customers to bring our aviation industry steadily back on its feet together. And we foresee that this will be the situation for the time being: we need to be agile in supporting our customers in their line maintenance needs and swiftly adapting as an organisation to serve our customers. This said, we still expect that we will experience a modest ramp-up of flight schedules in the rest of 2021 and steady grow back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the coming years as soon as we can travel again. In parallel, we expect the demand for Cargo flights with its current high frequency and dynamics to keep growing for the time to come due to limited belly freight options. From the perspective of leasing companies, a wave of new operators will come. These new operators will need proactive service providers to de-store aircraft and, after induction into operation, to have a flexible supporting line & base maintenance service provider. More likely independent providers, who have more focused customer dedication to provide bespoke tailored and cost-effective solutions. Something we as Direct Maintenance, part of Magnetic MRO, are well-positioned to offer.

With the financial impact of the pandemic as well as consumer trust pressure, all operators will want to avoid delays as soon as they re-start with their operations. And this will shape the customers’ expectations. What main improvements will have to be in place to meet these demands and what homework maintenance service providers have to do in order to be prepared?

Jacco Klerk: We have conducted a company-wide review, engaging all our personnel and consulting our customers. From observation to lessons learned – there is a range of improvements that we are implementing now to be well prepared, be adaptively coming out of this pandemic, and become more agile and deliver on our customer’s expectation. It all starts from how we act closer within our organisation – from stations engineers and management – as one team. We gain significantly from all our initiatives – so will our customers.

How Direct Maintenance have coped with challenges brought by the pandemic and how company is ready to contribute to the recovery of the industry?

Jacco Klerk: Like many aviation companies, we had a challenging time too, which pushed us deep into reviewing our organisation. However, looking back over 2020, all personnel has worked together to take initiatives and actions to pull through this challenging period. In return, this has deepened the family & team feeling and solidarity across our stations in Europe and Africa and our ongoing commitment to supporting our customers.  As an organisation in the wake of the industry’s recovery, we must remain flexible and adaptive to support our customers as our contribution, demonstrating our “can-do” and “we-care” spirit.

What are the key customer support requests you’re getting from passenger airlines and cargo airlines?

Jacco Klerk: Passenger airlines tend to focus more on their core business coming out of this pandemic. Based on our interactions with them, we see a development where airlines are leaning towards independent Line maintenance network service providers: next-generation of service providers, who will be able to provide service beyond the current scope of standard line maintenance services. Cargo airlines already focus more on services beyond the usual scope; besides, they expect us, as service providers, to be flexible with the dynamics in their operation. 

Leasing companies are looking to work more with organisations that can provide a range of service and have reliable partners looking after their assets. From our perspective, providing a full suite of solutions, from storage programmes, ferry flight support, line & base maintenance as Direct Maintenance and Magnetic MRO allows us to accommodate these requests and see a shift in demand.

Are there any longer-term projects that you’ve accelerated due to the pandemic? Is your business pivoting in ways you wouldn’t have predicted a year ago?

Jacco Klerk: We have ignited a lean and agile approach in our business attitude by engaging and empowering our personnel, driving improvements and best practising sharing. In parallel, we are focusing on accelerating digitalisation and optimisation on how effectively running our organisation. Our stations are known to have a strong customer focus DNA, and we will strengthen and enhance this further. We are finalising a strategic review of our long-term projects following the pandemic, which will provide new opportunities within our industry. Also, we are utilising our group capabilities as a Magnetic Group subsidiary to develop adaptive solutions supporting our customers’ outlook for the coming years.

Meet the Team: Timothy Kathuma

Timothy Kathuma, Lead Mechanic who works at Direct Maintenance station in Nairobi, Kenya, has been part of Direct Maintenance for over 9 years already – and what he likes the most is how fast-paced this work environment is. Get to know Timothy better as he shares a few insights from his experience with us.

Timothy, glad to have you onboard. Tell us how this aviation-career has started – what was your path to aviation industry?

Timothy Kathuma: It started right away when I enrolled for studies: I have studied Aeronautical Engineering and then I went for an Internship at Wilson Airport general aviation. Later on, I had experience in working for KLM under Engineering and Maintenance internship program and then joined Direct Maintenance in October 2011! So this year I will be celebrating 10 years of being part of this family. And I keep on working on to become a Licensed Aircraft Engineer in future!

What would you name as the main challenges in your line of work recently – and how did you cope with these challenges?

TK: I probably won’t say anything surprising – like for most, COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest challenge yet. And there’re no easy way to cope with it besides doing what’s in your power – that includes taking all required safety measures, like wearing mask, social distancing and taking your part in slowing the spread. Besides that, all we have to do is follow the rules and wait until it’s under control after the vaccinations rolls out globally and we can get back to life we were used to before the pandemic.

From challenges to joys: let’s talk about the achievements you are proud of! What would you name as your main professional achievement of the past year? 

TK: I was appointed to be charge of DMX Africa stations as Tools and Calibration controller, meaning I am responsible for ensuring paperwork, all up to date according to company procedures and tasks alike. It is a great responsibility and I appreciate the trust placed on me for this task.

What do you enjoy the most when working at Direct Maintenance?

TK: I enjoy many tasks here and how dynamic it is, like quick turn-rounds on defects troubleshooting and during AOG situations. I also like my responsibilities in ensuring all our Africa stations Tools been calibrated, and records are up to date.

Also, I like to participate in critical tasks, like engine change – and I like to know my work helps to ensure the airworthiness of the aircraft and its safety during the flight – it all makes my work worthwhile.

And besides work, do you have any hobbies or special interests that helps you to relax after busy day at work?

TK: I have a few things I like to do in my free time – from adventures in the nature and going to the zoo, to watching football match or giving back to my community and taking part in community service – all of them adds to a productive – and still dynamic, like work! – free time.

And which destinations are your favorite to travel to?

I probably would agree any time to jump on the plane which would land in London Heathrow so I could visit Royal Botanic Gardens – or any plane en-route to JFK airport in New York to go to Queens Botanical Gardens. You probably can see the tendency here of where I like to go to the most!

Meet the Team: Rob Kempen

Meet the team! For Rob Kempen, over two years he spent at Direct Maintenance has passed in the speed of light as every day is full of new challenges. And that’s just the start – in Rob’s opinion, there’s always a lot to learn in aviation.

Get to know Rob better and check out some of his insights about his experiences working here at Direct Maintenance.

Can you describe your work?

I would use the word “Dynamic” for sure! As an aircraft mechanic working at a Line Maintenance organisation you never know what to expect: first, the aircraft is coming in and looks perfectly fine and at the other moment there can appear a “status-message” and the pressure is on!

How has the COVID-19 pandamic changed your job? 

The pandemic had a big influence on my daily activities as a lot of customers downgraded their flight schedule. In the first months, we had only a couple of cargo flights. However, this period gave me and my colleagues the opportunity to go on a course to improve our skills, so I and my colleague Eric finished our Part 66 B1.1 course and in the meantime, some other guys finished there A320 type training. I think it was the best approach at that time – and I appreciate that here we get a lot of opportunities for further professional development.

For you personally, which recent work experience has been the most exciting or the most challenging and why? 

In these a little over 2 years that I’m working here, I already did some very nice jobs! As an example, we changed a radome on a B787 Dreamliner and had to use a massive crane and replaced the one that was damaged because of a hailstorm. When you are doing jobs like this you have to be focused and communicate very well with your colleagues to get the job done!

What are the main qualifications needed in your line of work? What are the main tasks / responsibilities in your position? 

Communication is key in this kind of work! Working in and around an aircraft is something you do with a lot of people. On and offloading from cargo, catering and refuelling is happening all at the same time. You must realize that every decision you make can affect their safety or working process. Before you decide to put the flaps down you have to make sure there is no high-loader next to your wing.

What do you like most about working in aviation – and at the Direct Maintenance? 

Working in aviation and especially in aircraft maintenance is something to be proud of. The feeling that you and your co-workers make sure that an aircraft can depart safely back home makes me happy, day in day out! And working here is something I enjoy every day. Our group of technicians is like a real brotherhood. Everybody is helping each other to improve – I’m still learning every day from our experienced engineers!

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