Meet The Team: Falko Leichhardt

Dynamic working environment and great atmosphere are just a few things Falko Leichhardt, Lead Engineer and Deputy Station Manager in Berlin enjoys while working at Direct Maintenance. Get to know him better as he shares some of his insights about work – and the challenges this year has brought us all.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your job? What is now different than before the pandemic hit?

At the height of the pandemic, it was shocking to see no more aircraft were flying and the sky over Berlin was completely empty. All of a sudden, I had to get used to parking and storage tasks and plan the team accordingly. This was followed by a phase of gradual increase of the operation, which resulted and still results in constant replanning. Both were very challenging for me, but above all for the whole team in Berlin.

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

It is a great challenge to respond to changing customer requirements and to offer the best possible service. Be it spontaneously different flight times or other types of aircraft where spontaneous action is required from the team in Berlin – all of these dynamic changes bring some excitement.

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

I would say primarily to keep calm and keep a clear head. Furthermore, my position, in my opinion, is one of the best. I can continue to work on highly complex aircraft and therefore always stay in the field and also have a lot to do with customer communication and working with our management team to solve problems or respond to new customer requests.

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

Aviation continues to hold a great fascination for me. And at Direct Maintenance, I feel good because there is a relaxed family atmosphere and everyone can contribute with their ideas.

How do you evaluate your experience working at Direct Maintenance? What are your best memories from your time working here?

I started at Direct Maintenance when the station in Berlin was facing a mammoth challenge. To be part of it and to see how the team has (and still does) rise to the challenge together makes me very proud. In personal conversations with each individual in the team, everyone praises the great atmosphere and the good working relationship, which I can only confirm.

The wind of change: Direct Maintenance appoints new CEO

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, a Total Technical Care and Asset Management organization, has announced the recent change in its managerial structure, marked by the appointment of the new CEO, Jacco Klerk.

Jacco Klerk has an extensive background in aviation, with previous experience including Business Transformation Leader position at Jormaco, commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider, as well as experience in working with such companies as KLM Engineering and Maintenance and Qualitair Aviation Group, A Randstad company.

I am delighted to join Direct Maintenance and to have the opportunity to work with skilled and dedicated colleagues. Combined with my expertise, I’m looking forward to working closely with our Customers to strengthen Direct Maintenance services together with our growth ambitions to expand our service offering.
I genuinely enjoy working with people to improve and transform business, by engagement and empowerment of our People and I’m keen to lead this new chapter for Direct Maintenance,” shared Jacco Klerk, CEO of Direct Maintenance.

Direct Maintenance management team has built a standing reputation and accommodates one-of-a-kind portfolio of aircraft capabilities. The legacy will continue, but with the addition of complementary services and new regions to even better serve existing and new customers,” added Risto Mäeots, CEO of Magnetic MRO.

Meet The Team: Thomas Houston

Meet the team: Thomas Houston, our DUB station Engineer who has joined our team in early 2018 and has been witnessing first-hand how the company has grown since then. And enjoys it – the same way as he enjoys the dynamic work where there’re no similar two days and every day bring some new challenges!

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

I joined Direct Maintenance in Feb 2018. When I joined, I was familiar and confident on 2 aircraft types. These were the A320 family and B737NG. Prior to joining I was told the job would require intensive type training in conjunction with my Engineer duties in DUB and that it would not be easy. This excited me as I knew it was a great career opportunity that was not available in any other company in DUB. I embarked on 18 months of type training on various aircraft types.  The investment from DMX and the experience I have gained have been huge. It was a difficult but rewarding 18 months. 

What do you like most about working in aviation / for Direct Maintenance?

There are no 2 days the same in DMX. We deal with so many different aircraft types and airline operators that each day offers something different. Each operator has its own procedures and preferences on how tasks are to be carried out.  This variety helps keep us on our toes 

The stand out a benefit to working with DMX is the small team environment. DMX has grown considerably even since I have joined. But regardless of the growth, everyone is still on a first-name basis with each other.

How has the Covid pandemic changed your job? What is now different than before the pandemic?

Like so many in the aviation sector, we too have been impacted by the pandemic. We have been split into 2 separate shifts in order to maintain continuity in case someone tests positive. 

The decision was made early to reduce wages in DUB. As a team, it was agreed that this would give the best chance of maintaining everyone’s job in the company. To date, there have been no job losses in DUB and given the circumstances, this is an indication of the integrity of the company. This has helped maintain morale for us here in DUB. 

Meet the Team: Sven Schmitz

Meet the team! Sven Schmitz is a ground engineer in Düsseldorf – and he has been part of our global team since summer 2019. During this year working at Direct Maintenance, he already had the experience to fulfil his childhood dream and work on A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Read the interview with Sven and get to know him better!

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your job? What is now different than before the pandemic? 

Our job changed fast and I never expected such a change. At the beginning of the outbreak, I was in Dubai for an A380 level 3 type course. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it and have missed the practical part. In the last week, my colleagues and I sat on packed suitcases in order to be able to react to any changes: we rebooked our flights at short notice and I came to Düsseldorf on one of the last flights from Dubai. 

During the peak of the lockdowns, there was also little work as customers at Düsseldorf no longer were flying, with the exception of a few cases (freighters). And then since mid-July, I’ve been back half a day for two to three days. The work has changed since then: masking is mandatory at the airport and on the planes. We also pay more attention to hygiene and cleanliness in our office and on the planes more than normal. I also haven’t seen many of my colleagues yet, but I also stay optimistic and believe we’ll all come out of it stronger than ever!

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

There have already been some exciting and challenging work experience. We had an A380 AOG with an engine problem, a B787 with a lightning strike… All of this work is extremely interesting and challenging as these are planes that you don’t see every day and, above all, don’t work on them. 

However, the bird strike on a B787 has been the most exciting for me lately. We only had a turnaround time of about 1:30 hour. Thanks to excellent teamwork, we even managed to push the plane safely out 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

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

In general, I think that a quick mind, manual skills, and of course a good understanding of the maths! In addition, teamwork, flexibility and the ability to make decisions are much needed in our line of work!

As I am currently working as a ground engineer in Düsseldorf, my main job is the maintenance and repair of aircraft. As B1.1, aviation security is in my hands as I am the person authorized to release the aircraft. It is a very interesting job and I am lucky to be doing it!

What do you like most about working in aviation / for Direct Maintenance? 

Working in aviation is no ordinary job, it’s something special for me. Every day is different and it never gets boring. The challenge is to make the best every day by always continuing education and not standing on the spot – and I am up for this challenge! 

The special thing about Direct Maintenance for me is the team and solidarity. You are not a number, you know each other; you have insights into departments and jobs that you don’t have in every company.

How do you evaluate your experience working at Direct Maintenance? What are your best memories from your time working here?

I felt very comfortable from the start. I was accepted directly into the team and was able to get involved. I learned a lot and also got the opportunity to continue my education. The best memory was when we took over a customer with an A380. For me, it was a childhood dream to work on the world’s largest passenger aircraft and this dream has now come true!

Direct Maintenance supports Finnair flight bringing medical supplies

Last week Direct Maintenance welcomed a Finnair A350 aircraft at our Dublin station. This special flight brought medical supplies from China, through Helsinki. We are committed to contributing to the community in relation to the COVID-19 situation. Our staff in Dublin airport supported this special flight and made sure the aircraft could safely return home.

Thank you Team Dublin for your dedication!

Direct Maintenance welcomes back Pakistan International Airlines in Amsterdam

In times where we are more apart and there are only a few aircraft flying every day, we are more than happy to share another good news.

Last Wednesday Direct Maintenance supported a Pakistan International Airlines flight bringing Dutch citizens back from Pakistan. We have been working together with PIA since 2010 when they had regular flights to and from Amsterdam. We were happy to assist their beautiful Boeing 777 aircraft on their short stop to Amsterdam, give them a warm welcome and wave them off to a safe return home flight.

Direct Maintenance welcomes back their old friend Malaysia Airlines

Last Monday, Direct Maintenances welcomed back an old airline friend. Back in 2006, Malaysia Airlines was the first customer of Direct Maintenance in Amsterdam. Over the years we enjoyed supporting their fleet and greeting their crew in Amsterdam. It was a great pleasure to welcome the first flight since 2015 and experience the bond we continue to have with each other. Especially in these times, seeing back an old friend is a warm and positive experience. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with Malaysia Airlines for many years to come!

Direct Maintenance supports Kuwait Airways with rescue flight

Last weekend Direct Maintenance had an opportunity to assist Kuwait Airways in Dublin Airport station. Two Airbus A330 flights came to Ireland to retrieve students. Direct Maintenance was approached for ad hoc support and our engineers were happy to be able to support the A330s. In these strange times, we are here and ready to support where we can. Both aircraft and the students headed safely back to their home country!

Direct Maintenance donates facemasks to Dutch Medical Group

Last week both Direct Maintenance and Magnetic MRO have received the generous donation of face masks from Hangxin. However, since most of the Direct Maintenance staff due to the outbreak are non-active, the team had the liberty to pass masks on to the ambulance services, called the Dutch Medical group.

Happy to share a THANK YOU letter they have received:

“Dear Direct Maintenance team, 

We would like to warmly thank you for the amazing, generous gesture that we have received from you in the form of a large amount of facemasks.

It is amazing to receive this in this way and it is for us a healthcare organisation of great importance that this kind of donations happens. Our organisation, just like many other organisations and companies, go through anxious times. For us, the worry about the health of our caregivers comes on top of that. No matter how many extra measures we take, our people are day and night working with patients and our healthcare professionals are exposed to higher risk if they do not have access to protective gear. Facemasks are very important. The shortage is, therefore, all the more painful.

Our gratitude is large and I would like to extend our great thanks to the management and all colleagues in Direct Maintenance who made this possible!”
Edzard Enschedé
Director, Dutch Medical group

Direct Maintenance set up Cribmaster tool control system in TXL station

In mid-January, Direct Maintenance finalised the set up of the Cribmaster tool control system at the companies Berlin-TXL station. The set-up was performed with the assistance of Magnetic MRO Facility and Tooling Manager Maksim Kolesnik, as Cribmaster system is already used in the Tallinn hangars. Setting up a unified RFID based system will give the employees an easy way to manage all the tools. This is a step closer to companies digitalization & real-time RFID inventory tracking.

Karsten Kühnell, Stores Supervisor TXL, states: “The guys and I are really enthusiastic and motivated to start working using the Cribmaster system. It will make tool control less time consuming and more convenient.” 

“I am pleased to announce that the next RFID inventory and consumables tracking system is successfully set up. There are already over 40 active employees and more than 600 tools registered to the new system,” said Maksim Kolesnik. 

Direct Maintenance is currently using the latest release of Cribmaster software, which has been developed for maintenance station needs and covers all the following:

  • Total inventory control in real-time
  • Overal daily transaction report
  • Consumables management
  • Calibration expiry monitoring

In just two days Karsten and Maksim, with the help of Anouk Daams, project coordinator, and Patrick Broster from Cribmaster, managed to get acquainted with Cribmaster and assign items tags for tools and equipment. 

Maksim Kolesnik: “The system setup was very well welcomed – big thanks to Anouk and Karsten for the support and hopefully, they gained a lot of knowledge in these two days. Certainly, in future, we will make some follow up actions and come up with new developments which help improve everyday tools and consumables management.”

Direct Maintenance partners up with major flag carrier airline in Dublin

Direct Maintenance is delighted to extend the positive and longstanding cooperation with one of their most loyal customers in Dublin. It is with the continued mutual trust that we build on this partnership.

Frank Daams, Managing Director, comments: “When a current customer decides to extend to another one of our stations, we are always incredibly honoured. We strive every day to deliver the high-quality line maintenance that our customers have come to respect and to keep building on the relationships we have nurtured over the years.”

Direct Maintenance started with a new customer in Entebbe (EBB) station in Africa

As of this week, Direct Maintenance has started with a new customer in Entebbe line station – providing what we do best, line maintenance, on the Boing 777 Freighters.

Mandeep Rana, Head of Sales expresses: “It is great to see that many of our customers are extending their contracts with Direct Maintenance to other stations. This shows the trust we have gained by our performance. We continue to work towards a bright future!”

Direct Maintenance welcomes all line maintenance service support enquiries. Contact us today:

Direct Maintenance extends Etihad Airways partnership to Dusseldorf (DUS) station

On October 9th 2019, the Dusseldorf team has handled their first Etihad flight. Our engineers welcomed the first B787 today. We will provide Etihad Airways with full maintenance support.

Frank Daams, Managing Director, comments: We are grateful to have had a pleasant and productive partnership with Etihad Airways at our African stations. It is a true honour for us that they have extended their trust in Direct Maintenance in Dusseldorf. We look forward to successful cooperation with Etihad Airways in the future.

Direct Maintenance welcomes all line maintenance service support enquiries. Contact us today:

Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) Airport station opened by Direct Maintenance

Direct Maintenance is happy to announce that the SXF station is open and approved! Being the line maintenance market leader in Berlin-Tegel Airport, it is an exciting opportunity to also start our operation in Schönefeld. With a wide portfolio of capabilities, among which B737, B767, A320 as well as exterior washes and engine washes, we are ready and happy to assist new and existing customers. Schönefeld is the fourth German Direct Maintenance station.

Dirk Moebius, Maintenance Manager TXL and SXF: “It is an exciting opportunity to take the experience and commitment that we have built at the TXL station to now provide high-quality line maintenance at SXF. The teams at both stations and I are committed to delivering the excellence that our customers have come to expect and work towards a bright future!”

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