MIAMI — Three hours north of São Paulo, Brazil, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, there is a sprawling facility known as TAM MRO. The MRO facility, or maintenance, repair, and overhaul, is tasked with keeping the TAM fleet in tip top shape. From paint touch ups to heavy D-checks, this facility does it all.
Opened in 2001, the MRO facility is located at the prior site of a tractor assembly line. Now employing over 1,400 people 24 hours a day, the facility is responsible for the 40% of LATAM groups fleet of Airbus A319/320/321, A330, and Boeing 767. The Boeing 777-300ER is currently maintained off-site, as the taxiways at this facility are not wide enough to support the massive aircraft.
Aside from its own fleet (and that of sister airline LAN), the MRO facility is also responsible for the maintenance of several direct competitor’s fleets, such as Avianca, GOL, and Azul. The facility can also accept Embraer aircraft of any airline, and is even responsible for the maintenance of a few government-owned aircraft.
Heavy checks at the facility can run anywhere from three to 60 days, and about 130 LAN and TAM aircraft will make their way through the facility every year. The facility houses machine shops, a metallurgy lab, paint facilities, a composite shop, upholstery rooms, electronics testing, and even a top secret landing gear electroplating process. On top of it all, a warehouse stocks everything from sharklets to the seats that leased aircraft were originally delivered with.
Speaking of composites, the MRO facility will also host the composite built Airbus A350, which the airline expects to take delivery of in late 2015. Although the aircraft will be delivered within a year, the MRO facility does not expect to see it come in for any heavy checks until a few years into its life, so preparations are still needed.[tribulant_slideshow gallery_id=”449″]