The University of Limerick is planning a global registry for aircraft parts

A new global register of aircraft parts is being developed at the University of Limerick in what could be a major commercial venture, the Irish Independent has learned.

Diarmuid Hyde of AerCap’s lessor Gecas is among the directors of a new university-founded company called UL Aviation Registries. He acts at the startup in a non-executive capacity.

University of Limerick Chief Corporate Officer Andrew Flaherty confirmed that plans for the register are moving forward.

“The university believes that there is an opportunity for an independent company to develop an aircraft parts register with unique identifiers that would make data transfers between users, whether they be aircraft manufacturers, maintenance and overhaul companies or lessors, much easier and more effective,” he said said.

“Aircraft insurers will also benefit,” he added. “This venture gives the university the opportunity to further develop research in the aeronautics sector, an area in which we already have significant expertise.”

Mr Flaherty added: “We are at the beginning of a journey and are delighted that Diarmuid Hyde has agreed to become a non-executive director, giving the company access to his wealth of experience and aviation leadership.”

The University of Limerick has developed strong links with the aviation sector, particularly due to its proximity to lessors operating in Shannon. Shannon was also home to Tony Ryan’s Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA).

GPA, which later became Gecas, was a nursery for some of the current leaders in the global aircraft leasing sector. Alumni include Gus Kelly, CEO of AerCap, Dómhnal Slattery, co-founder and former CEO of Avolon, and Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital.

Gecas was acquired by competitor AerCap last year in a deal that made the group by far the largest aircraft rental company in the world.

The global market for commercial aircraft parts is worth almost US$1 trillion (€940 billion) per year.

Traceability of parts used in aircraft repairs is critical. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent seizure of jets leased to airlines in the country particularly underscores the importance of traceability of aircraft parts.

Counterfeit and miscertified replacement parts have been targeted by the FBI for the past two decades.

In 2000, a dozen premises in Ireland were raided in a joint Garda-FBI operation as part of a full-scale investigation into counterfeit aircraft parts. It followed an FBI investigation into a series of crashes involving passenger planes. The parts were also sold to military authorities for Luftwaffe aircraft.

At the time, the Irish Air Corps grounded its training planes and helicopters as a precaution after it was revealed it had paid hundreds of thousands of euros for parts to a company on the fringes of the FBI investigation.

Raids also took place in Italy in 2002, uncovering thousands of items including an unreliable fuel gauge and other incorrectly certified parts.

This prompted a warning to airlines around the world to carry out inspections of spare parts installed on their planes. The University of Limerick is planning a global registry for aircraft parts

Fry Electronics Team

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