AAR Corp.’s $120 million acquisition of aviation MRO and fleet management software firm Trax USA Corp., announced this week, is part of the Illinois-based aviation aftermarket solutions provider’s effort to build up digital capabilities, according to an AAR executive.
Miami-based Trax provides primarily airlines (it also has MRO and government customers) with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that “manages and tracks every element that goes into aircraft maintenance, so it is inventory management, materials management and purchasing, personnel time task cards and financials,” Dylan Wolin, AAR VP-strategic and corporate development, told Avionics International in an interview. “It’s a really comprehensive system for managing everything that goes into maintenance.”
AAR will not utilize the software in its own MRO hangars, at least initially, but will support Trax in terms of sales, often to the same customer base as AAR is serving, Wolin said.
“We are going to make sure we’re keeping the Trax brand and the Trax entity in the marketplace,” he noted. “There’s not going to be a rebranding. AAR will be supporting Trax behind the scenes and making certain introductions. But in terms of both the personnel and the identity in the marketplace, those things will remain unchanged.”
Trax has 110 employees.
AAR may eventually utilize the Trax software in its maintenance hangars, but that was not the impetus behind the acquisition, Wolin said.
“It’s really about driving more sales for Trax with customers they’re not reaching today,” Wolin explained, “and making it more seamless for customers to be able to pair utilization of the Trax software with the procurement of hardware from us. So, for example, an airline using the Trax portal to monitor inventory levels and identify parts needed then would be able to seamlessly source parts from AAR, or from somewhere else for that matter.”
The combination with AAR will “open doors for Trax with some of our airline customers,” he explained. “They’re a small company, and bringing the credibility of AAR should be helpful.”
In a presentation detailing the transaction, AAR described Trax, founded in 1999, as the “leading third-party provider of mobile and cloud MRO solutions for maintenance efficiency, cost reduction and information flow between airlines, lessors and MROs.” Trax software supports around 5,000 aircraft and “creates the system of record required for airlines, MROs and government aircraft operators by the FAA and other regulators,” according to AAR.
AAR Chairman, President, and CEO John Holmes said when announcing the transaction that “we believe we can support Trax’s continued growth by investing in its platforms.”
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