As the launch customer for the SpaceJet family of aircraft, All Nippon Airways (ANA) plays a special role in the success of Mitsubishi Aircraft’s ambitious venture to redefine regional aviation. For any manufacturer, the first customer is vitally important. It’s especially important when that customer is also the most successful and influential airline in your home country.
With some of the best dispatch rates in the industry, ANA is known for holding itself, and its partners, to an incredibly high standard. But when ANA placed the first order for the SpaceJet in March 2008, Mitsubishi Aircraft was yet to establish a customer support function of its own. The pressure was on.
Establishing a premier customer support team is a key priority for any manufacturer. It’s responsible for the entire lifespan of the aircraft long after it first enters service. A successful partnership means managing a robust supply chain that can deliver inventory in a timely manner. Setting this network up is among the biggest challenges for any manufacturer—and is especially difficult for a relative newcomer to the sector.
But now, as the SpaceJet M90 approaches certification and entry into service, Mitsubishi Aircraft’s efforts have made an enormous impact. The past year has seen the team add key industry experts with decades of experience and additional customer support knowledge.
Led by aviation veterans Nelson Jabour and Nicola McCarron, the team has undergone a complete transformation in the past 12 months in particular—fueled by new talent and a re-energized relationship with ANA. “In terms of our metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), we are now exceeding expectations,” McCarron says. “We firmly believe that if we raise the bar to meet the high Industry expectations that ANA set then we will be a very successful Customer Support organization globally.”
Today, commitments and milestones are setting a precedent not only for their ongoing partnership, but for the entire regional aviation industry. Jabour and McCarron note that ANA’s involvement in maintenance activities has been a key factor for recent progress, providing an additional layer of transparency between the two companies. “They’re seeing how our systems behave early so we can work with them to improve our processes,” Jabour says. “It’s very much a win-win between the customer and the OEM. We want to leverage this to become the best customer support organization in the world.”
The ambitions to redefine regional aviation won’t be possible without it, either. That’s why the team is also researching new technologies like fully integrated systems and inventory control or aircraft health monitoring for future iterations of the SpaceJet family. “We know the regional market has been overlooked and that for many Operators, the regional segment is their sole focus,” Jabour says. “We aim to be a market disruptor and have a team in place to allow us to realize a competitive edge so that we can stay ahead of the game and bring something entirely new.”
As SpaceJet gets closer and closer to entry into service every day, this close partnership with ANA has elevated the entire customer support offering. Fueled by an experienced team and the high standards that are expected for real-world service, the SpaceJet team is poised to usher in a successful future of regional travel with the support function it deserves.