Data-driven maintenance provider Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI) continues to expand its worldwide presence and services to the international business aviation market. To bolster its maintenance support services, Fabrice Roger was recently appointed SVP of Business Development for the European, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific markets
CComing from a decade-long stint as an international aircraft trader, Fabrice Roger’s new role will encapsulate his ten years of previous banking experience with the financial services that JSSI provides. “JSSI is well known for delivering maintenance financial services, so my background in aviation and banking is a good fit,” Roger says. His focus will continue to expand his geographical reach. “Previously, I covered the Latin American, European, and North African regions. My remit now is to strengthen JSSI’s international markets. It’s already grown significantly, and my plan is to build on that.”
Aviation’s attraction for him is not so much the aircraft and technology, but the people and the industry’s global, cross-border nature. “There are few industries that give you such exposure and there are so many opportunities” he says. “Coming into aviation from banking, I found that even though it’s very technical, aviation is still catching up with other industries, especially in the aircraft trading world. The idea JSSI has of leveraging data to forecast and plan for upcoming maintenance events is very powerful. Something else I learned over the past ten years in this industry is that there’s a lack of transparency.
Transparency is an important selling point for JSSI, especially for people new to private jet operations. “Historically, it has been difficult to calculate operating and ownership costs, but JSSI is well placed to bring clarity to the industry. Buyers aren’t always aware of the costs incurred through ownership and maintenance in the coming years. And there is sometimes reluctance or lack of knowledge to communicate this on the front end; we’re here to help with that.
Operating and maintenance costs make ownership of an aircraft an investment, not just a purchase. We educate owners on what to expect by using our 34 years in the industry gathering data so we can even out, organize, and predict costs while limiting financial exposure. Because of our all-OEM, holistic approach, we can also track parts availability and pre-schedule MRO slot times for virtually every make and model of aircraft. This vertical integration of support services across the industry saves owners not only money, but turnaround times for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance events.”
In that sense, Roger believes the JSSI offer is unique and notes that its data-based philosophy and trusted market presence helps keep maintenance costs stable and realistic across the industry. “There is currently a two-year wait for some new aircraft deliveries so that is affecting the in-service aircraft market. We’re expecting significant cost escalations in maintenance over the coming years in line with inflation, the cost of living, and the price increases we’re all experiencing. JSSI is actively looking at how to mitigate increasing maintenance and parts costs for its customers. Without the data, it would be impossible.”
Of the 10,000+ maintenance events that JSSI handles every year, 45% of its maintenance programme activity was outside the U.S. JSSI continues to grow as a global company, offering standardized service delivered in local culture.
The European and U.S. business aviation markets are unique, but the same could be said of every other region embraced by the eight letters of abbreviation in Roger’s job title. His is not an easy task. “Thank you for pointing that out!” he jokes. “The U.S. is a very sophisticated market, with around 65% of the world’s business jet population. JSSI has been very successful working with many of the top flight departments, which have been operating for years and understand how we add value to their operation. Europe is different and we have lots of educational work to do, country by country. We’re adapting and adjusting to these markets. When we meet customers and explain our philosophy, they understand it. They get our message, and they love our unique value proposition.”
Expanding JSSI’s international presence means adding more granular data that might be specific to a region but could also be considered part of an expanded global dataset. Roger explains, “We don’t generalize just per aircraft type, we are specific to a region and operation type. For example, in Europe, flights are usually shorter and utilisation quite varied. In the Middle East we know the sandy environment is a factor and in Asia, there’s a lack of hangar space. We consider multiple factors and apply our aggregated intelligence to service our customers to their unique needs.
The complexities are managed with the help of over 100 globally based technical experts who understand their environments and help JSSI identify appropriate technical solutions. “Positioned in our key markets, our technical experts are key to our success by providing regional knowledge and helping us keep our pricing competitive. They are focused on the customer, providing a personal approach, meeting local requirements, both technical and cultural.”
Roger’s aim is to spread the JSSI message far and wide in 2023 and beyond, introducing the company to those who aren’t familiar and reinforcing its benefits to those who do. It means lots of travel, tradeshows, and site visits, but since JSSI already covers almost 20% of the global business jet fleet, Roger is confident he has a mature, quality product to offer.
MRO providers are extremely busy globally, which means some parts are more difficult to source than others and logistics are challenging, so how can he be certain of delivering his promises to new customers? “We aren’t bound to a relatively small number of MRO facilities. We can offer alternatives, opening the doors to multiple providers leveraging our scale,” explains Roger. “We support over 6,000 aircraft and delivering data in our system and that gives us great visibility on upcoming requirements, the risk of a failure, and being smarter in how we anticipate the expense related to an unscheduled maintenance issue. No one can duplicate our network of over 400+ global vendors, 60,000 in-stock parts and 60+ engines and APUS available for lease or exchange. With our resources, we can mitigate potential parts shortages by sourcing them well in advance because we know the customer will need them.” There are three JSSI parts warehouses in the U.S. and Roger confirms the intention to establish another in Europe. They already have an office in Farnborough, England.
Coincidentally with Roger’s efforts to reach across the world, aviation is on the verge of fundamental change. Electric propulsion is enabling a new era in air mobility, including eVTOL, and today’s business aviation operators are the obvious pioneers of tomorrow’s eVTOL service. A new generation of digital, data-driven aircraft is coming to an industry segment in which JSSI is the data expert. How might that pan out? “It’s something we’re exploring. We want to see how operations work, see who emerges as the industry leaders. JSSI has been in the market over 30 years and part of that success is looking to the future,” Roger concludes. For 2023, Fabrice Roger has more than enough to do taking JSSI to the rest of the world; who knows what 2024 might bring.