Helping airlines save money on parts by skipping OEMs


Passengers drop carry-on luggage from the overhead bin, breaking seat arm caps. Tray tables are damaged, seat covers ripped, curtains yanked too hard. All kinds of passenger indifference, extensive use and poor design can make aircraft parts fail.

Airlines, cargo haulers and others don’t have to be at the mercy of OEMs to obtain parts in a cost-effective and timely manner. With the assistance of an outside expert who can manage the entire process, airlines can identify parts with PMA (parts manufacturer approval) or reproduce the parts themselves through the OOPP (owner-operator produced parts) process. Either approach improves availability and ensures reliability. The savings can run into millions of dollars for some carriers.


When an airline must replace hundreds of seat covers, light covers and tray tables, costs quickly add up for these costly pain points when buying from the OEM. Delays in getting the parts from the OEM can impede operations, and if the part was poorly designed from the start, then you’re racking up maintenance hours, too. Sometimes parts can’t be obtained at all because support from the OEM is no longer available.

A better option for interior components is looking beyond the OEMs. One avenue is FAA-certified PMA parts from aftermarket suppliers that are sold to airlines and other aircraft operators. Another is OOPP parts, which an airline can arrange to have designed and reproduced under its own Part 121 authority. The airline itself can use those parts all it wants on its own aircraft but can’t supply them to anyone else.

The challenge for airlines and other fleet operators is resources. The desire to save money, gain operational efficiencies and reduce frustration is there, but the time and expertise to find PMA parts or create their own are lacking. Rightly so, they’re busy keeping the fleet flying, so obtaining outside expertise and assistance is necessary.

Virtually every part of an aircraft seat can be worn or broken through high use and passengers’ carelessness. Airlines quickly run up big bills replacing through OEMs.


SeaTec’s team of engineering and maintenance experts can manage the PMA or OOPP process from beginning to end to deliver a complete engineering package that provides the supply chain with ready-to-order parts. We’ve helped source hundreds of PMA and OOPP parts.

The steps and depth of the project can, of course, be customized to the customer’s needs. In addition to our resources and expertise, we offer a straightforward pricing regimen.

Here are some of the possible steps:

  • Review use to identify parts candidates or work from airline’s expressed list of parts pain points.
  • See if a PMA part is available and whether it is applicable to aircraft in fleet.
  • Vet vendors and determine potential savings and lead time.
  • If not available from aftermarket supplier, work with a vendor to design the part, oversee technical details, perform testing, ensure it meets regulatory standards, negotiate price and establish lead time.
  • Develop required engineering documentation and prepare it for final approval by client.
  • Test fit part on customer aircraft and provide documentation.
  • Provide reporting and savings metrics to client.

As part of the deal, SeaTec can supply an easy-to-use web-based form, available in desktop or mobile, to request the review of parts. Engineering, maintenance, supply chain and other functional work groups can use it to trigger the PMA and OOPP process for a part. It’s the first step to savings and better operations, and that’s the goal.

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