Delta Gets Maintenance Deal

Delta Air Lines has landed a deal to do engine work for regional carrier Mesa Air Group, boosting its effort to add revenue through maintenance "insourcing."

Meanwhile, Boeing Co. has picked Delta's maintenance division to help maintain KC-767 military fuel tanker aircraft.

The 12-year deal with Phoenix-based Mesa will add about $300 million in revenue over that time span, and Delta maintenance chief Tony Charaf said the Atlanta carrier won the business away from an independent contractor.

"We wrested this from an incumbent," Charaf said Tuesday. "We won fair and square."

Charaf said Delta expects to do about 350 engine overhauls over the course of the agreement on Bombardier jets flown by Mesa, whose subsidiary, Freedom Airlines, flies under contract as a Delta Connection carrier.

The Boeing deal, announced Tuesday, positions Delta to pick up more maintenance business if Boeing wins a bid to supply newly redesigned KC-767s to the Air Force.

Boeing is vying against Northrup Grumman in a $40 billion battle to produce replacements for older military fuel tanker jets.

Boeing had earlier won the deal to produce the jets, but the government decided to rebid the project after an ethics scandal involving Boeing and Air Force officials.

Delta's maintenance deals come as a convention for the aircraft maintenance industry is held in Atlanta today and Thursday,

Boeing said in a news release that it picked Delta's TechOps division as a partner because TechOps has significant experience in dealing with Boeing 767 aircraft and a "robust" inventory of parts for 767s.

Delta has pushed to expand its stable of outside customers as part of its restructuring. The airline said TechOps generated $312 million in revenue last year.

Delta also unveiled a new advertising campaign Tuesday for its maintenance business that features children of TechOps employees. The campaign, aimed at trade publications in the industry, revolves around the theme "What it takes to fly" and is meant to evoke a child's wonder at flight, the company said.

"When you look through the types of advertisements that are predominant in our industry, you tend to see airplanes, airplanes and more airplanes," Charaf said. "We think there's real value in going totally outside the box."

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