Furthermore, a PMA parts supplier many times has more efficient resources than the OEM provider and can provide a genuine service alternative. The PMA provider may have superior support service for its product and provide more on the spot technical representatives to the user.
Henry Ford on spare parts
Henry Ford has been quoted as saying. “I’ll give you the car for nothing if you agree to buy all your spare parts only from me ….” In other words he looked to the long-term relationship with the customer to sustain his business. This kind of service and parts for the life of the car and the parts was fundamental to Ford’s success. Likewise, to the PMA market here in the USA and overseas. Most of the major PMA suppliers attempt to follow this rule to the letter with the same kind or in some cases better support than the OEM. But, of necessity, it is limited.
OEM providers, on the other hand, say they provide one-stop service with extended new part warranties, DER, and factory type repairs and of course complete engine overhaul and have all the technical data to do so. Like Henry Ford, they also are seeking that long-term relationship that guarantees the use of higher priced parts.
Presently, recent reports on global PMA parts sales say the market is projected to reach $749 million by the year 2017. But, an engine program like this one does not tend to increase the PMA market. Rather, some would say that it would clearly not support the continued growth of the PMA market and in fact would curtail any further expansion.
Will it grow?
Will this type of factory program expand to the general aviation sector? Engine and airframe OEMs? Many would say that it probably will not … but it is interesting to speculate. It appears that such a program is more suited to the large commercial field of airlines and leasing companies, where there is a huge financial factor to consider. However, many leasing companies will still continue to allow the use of PMA parts as long as the major OEMs continue to raise their spare parts prices. With the current state of the economy it seems logical.
There is no question when it comes to whether or not factory OEMs have a virtual legalized monopoly on the sale of their factory parts and services. After all, it’s their product and they built it. Through the years attempts to challenge their status has produced little results.
You can be assured that the legal department of the company inaugurating this type of preferential treatment for some has carefully set it up so as to avoid any suggestion of disparate customer handling, or a preferential pricing structure, which might violate some federal or state statute. Nevertheless, there can’t help but be the lingering scent of a pricing struggle.
You can expect to see and hear strong objections to any attempt to disparage or down-value PMA parts. The PMA parts manufacturers associations are most likely drafting strong positions on the issue. Modification and Replacement Parts Association (MARPA) in particular, will discuss this and other threats to the use of PMA parts, at an upcoming PMA parts gathering in London, UK, this November. According to the schedule, it will specifically bring up the issue as it applies to leasing companies and others, and on how they can effectively deal with manufacturers who attempt to encourage the removal of PMA parts from their products.
The threat of some sort of legal proceeding by imaginative lawyers may well be in the future where a theory could be advanced to discourage such attacks on PMA parts. As it now stands, most would agree that such a step is not necessary. Also, there does not seem to be any violation of any federal or state laws where there is only an incentive to remove PMA parts from products.
Stephen P. Prentice is an attorney whose practice involves FAA-NTSB issues. He has an Airframe and Powerplant certificate and is an ATP rated pilot. He is a USAF veteran. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.