CAMO Business

Why there is no free lunch in the CAMO business.


A black and white photo of StephanOK, let´s get through the dry bit first! Back in 2003 when EASA introduced Part M, it wasn´t a love child by maintenance organizations and operators.

But the truth of the matter is when we look at it now is that most planes back then were managed somehow rudimental and not really with a focus to manage the airworthiness of the aircraft more to plan the maintenance.

This becomes evident when you get your hand on older aircraft out of ancient times when the earth was flat, and Camo was a term only used by the military.

Quality and safety have made giant leaps over the last two decades, and standards have raised since the then beyond what one might think of being a suitable standard before 2003.

The crux with it is that even after so many years still, people think that the CAMO is just an obligation they are forced to have. But the truth of the matter is that the CAMO can be your sharpest tool in cutting excessive maintenance bills. If you have the right team at your disposal, you will see considerable savings in maintenance costs and significantly improved plane availability. But what it needs to have is independence.

Don´t fall for the free CAMO trap! If your CAMO is tied to your maintenance, it is like the fox guards the chicken coop. You will have losses.

There is a particular rationale why some MROs offer free CAMO Service. It´s like a drug dealer offering a free shot.

When you are hooked, you are trapped, and you lose every freedom of choice. The MRO dictates where the spare parts come from, when the maintenance is being done, how often or how spread out, optimizing their hangar usage—but certainly not optimizing your costs or aircraft availability. It would go against them. So whatever you be told. Take it with a grain of salt.

We at PRIMUS AERO are often confronted with owners outraging about their maintenance costs and literally all of them have their CAMO and their maintenance under one roof.

And this is understandable. Somewhere or someone has to carry the cost of the CAMO. Either you pay directly or vias detours.

So the free CAMO does not work, what about the cheap CAMO?

Well, I always compare it with a lawyer or dentist: would you trust the cheapest dentist to fix your teeth or the cheapest lawyer with your divorce proceedings?

So why would you put your most valuable asset and to a certain extent also your life into the hands of the cheapest offerer?

In any descent CAMO, you would not have any more than eight planes maximum managed by one individual. Now you can do your math. If you see three guys working 50 planes, you will get some shortfalls. Either financially ( because the is no capability left to find the best maintenance facility for your support) or in safety. But to be honest, mostly the shortfall is on the financial side because engineers have a bias towards safety. Also in their own best interest-

So long story short, don´t fall for the cheapest solution, fall for the ideal solution, and ideal things are never free.

Aviation Heaven provides you with a great source to find your ideal. Please make use of it. A few hours invested can save you millions and defers turning grey for a while.

In yachting, they say that there are only two good days when you have a yacht. The day you buy it, and the day you get rid of it.

It depends on your choices if this applies to your aviation experience too.


Stephan Krainer, CEO


This article was originally published in Aviation Heaven Magazine in November 2020.