Avio Aero's Brindisi site, in the Puglia region of Italy, has always been a focal point for the Italian Air Force, and includes departments dedicated to technical-commercial relations and to the navies and air forces of other countries. Traditionally, this is the site where military engines (such as the EJ200, RB199, Spey MK-807 and T700), as well as aircraft-derived LM engines for naval and industrial applications, are sent for repair and overhaul, using the recently extended and upgraded plants and capacity.
The Brindisi site also manufactures the frames and cases that enclose the low-pressure turbines of large civil aircraft engines such as the GEnx, the LEAP and shortly also the new GE9X. A series of major achievements have been made in this area, as discussed on page 15 of this issue, and plans to develop and extend production to the latest-generation civil aviation programmes are in the pipeline.
We asked Gioacchino Ficano, who was appointed Brindisi Plant Leader in the spring of this year, to tell us a bit about the philosophy and values embraced by his site.
What is your role and your team's mission for Avio Aero?
I am the Brindisi Plant Leader and the interface for Avio Aero's Service work. Our mission is to become the definitive Mediterranean hub for the servicing of aeronautical, naval and terrestrial engines. We are also very proud of the supporting role we play for the Italian Air Force in relation to a series of strategic aircraft for our country. And let's not forget that we are the only centre that manufactures low-pressure turbine cases for the largest civil aviation engines in the GE fleet, such as the GEnx, the LEAP-X and in future the GE9X.
What impression did you get when you first visited the Brindisi plant and met the people who work there?
I got the impression that we have a team of considerable talent, with plenty of drive to succeed... but that not everyone is necessarily employed in the right role at the moment. It's an outstanding mix of long-standing experience and youthful vigour.
What do you think are the strengths of the Brindisi plant?
Apart from a talented team, which is always the key ingredient, I would say that the site has three main strengths: its strategic location in the Mediterranean (just a stone's throw from a port and airport), its access to European funds allocated by the Puglia Regional Council (which is second to hardly any other area in the world), and the fact that it can draw upon the talent of two first-class universities (Bari and Lecce), with which we enjoy exceptionally close relations.
And what are the main areas for improvement?
It's clearly a site that's suffered from years of under-investment, and it's not easy to turn that around in just a few months.
Is there anything in particular you would like to say to our colleagues, especially the ones working at your site?
We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really grow and develop both the plant and its hinterland... so let's be smart and let's not blow it. I'm convinced that if we harness our talent, commitment and dedication, and strive for continuous improvement every single day, the chances of success are sky-high