Finger on the Pulse: Complex Aviation Projects Require Specialized Program Managers

By Andrew Betts, HPM Senior Program Manager

Andrew Betts

For nearly 15 years, HPM has been a trusted partner for leaders in the aviation and aerospace sectors. Our capabilities ensure aviation clients can achieve the speed-to-market needed to stay ahead in the industry. HPM’s experience with major players, including Airbus, AAR and Boom Supersonic, places us at the forefront of innovation in this space and allows us to provide onsite, day-to-day management tailored to fit the industry’s needs. 

As program manager, HPM works alongside aerospace and aviation owners undertaking major construction projects by supporting pre-planning and site selection, coordinating delivery schedules, aligning budgets and streamlining communication for all partners involved, from design to supplies to construction. Our specialized expertise allows our clients to have peace of mind during major investments, no matter the market conditions.  

When working in aviation, there are specific challenges that inevitably arise no matter how much preparation happens beforehand. As industry experts, it is our job to know how to employ the right techniques and protocols to combat these issues and avoid setbacks to project completions. Accountability and experience are key in determining success for our clients. 

New Projects Mean New Obstacles to Consider 

VTMAE, Inc./ST Engineering Aerospace MRO Hangar

Projected growth in the aviation sector means that many companies will remain very active with new construction across the country. Site selection is a major first step for these projects, especially for ground-up initiatives. While airports continue to grow, available land is diminishing. Program managers must look closely at land sources as limitations remain on where new facilities can be located in proximity to runways. Access to nearby labor also remains crucial, especially in the wake of an ongoing labor shortage.  

Like many other industries, aviation is also facing supply chain-related challenges, which have negatively impacted product procurement and pricing. Commodity markets have been hard hit, and large hangars require specialized materials that take longer to secure than typical equipment (a problem even before the pandemic). Some vendors don’t offer pricing commitments until the product is shipped, meaning that closer consideration should be put into contract drafting to protect owners from potentially devastating impacts.  

While lead times have grown and prices have risen, permitting has also become more complex. In some markets, it now can take over a year to obtain the approvals needed, causing yet another hurdle for owners to navigate in the initial stages and underscoring the need for a program manager who understands the complexities of these regulations and how to mitigate the impacts. 

These headwinds make clear the importance of preplanning and coordination between design and construction teams — which is right where our specialty lies. We take the reins to minimize uncertainty and put owners at ease with the trajectory of their project plans. 

Ensuring Success Through A Trusted Program Manager  

Airbus 320 FAL USA

Engaging a program manager as soon as possible is critical to ensuring a smooth process from material procurement to execution. Our experts at HPM know the ins and outs of the aviation industry and can support owners every step of the way, drawing on decades of experience. Understanding the nuances of different aircraft and airports, understanding location-specific challenges, knowing the regulatory environment and having the right relationships is vital to the success of these projects. At HPM, we are constantly developing new strategies for earlier product procurement and working to engage partners before any boots meet the ground. 

As the industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, owners should stay diligent and adaptable. Despite a multitude of challenges, MRO within aviation and aerospace is growing and is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to Oliver Wyman’s Global Fleet & MRO Forecast 2022-2023. HPM remains at the forefront of aviation’s evolution, keeping our fingers on the pulse of innovation, pricing and the supply chain so that our clients only see the best possible outcomes.  

Do you have an ambitious schedule and challenging budget for your capital building project? That’s our specialty. If your project could benefit from our services, please explore our aviation portfolio and reach out! We would love to connect with you.