Take ten with Atlas Air

A quick fire interview round with Gilbert Gonzalez, Director Powerplants at Atlas Air. He is the customer behind and takes care of the CF6-80C2 engine fleet under contract with MTU Maintenance.

01.2020 | Text: Victoria Nicholls

Victoria Nicholls is a specialist for aftermarket topics such as engine MRO, leasing and asset management, as well as international market trends. The British-born editor lives in Berlin and works for MTU’s corporate communications in Hannover and Ludwigsfelde.


What is your background and how long have you been with Atlas Air?

I recently celebrated my 21st anniversary with Atlas. I spent my first 10 years in Reliability and Maintenance before transitioning to the Powerplant team.

When did you get bitten by the “aviation bug”?

During my second year in high school, I attended a career day and learned about Aeronautical Engineering. I knew immediately when I entered that classroom that I wanted to be in this field. I have enjoyed a fulfilling career with Atlas. One of the most engaging aspects of my role is working together with colleagues to find solutions to new challenges that emerge.

Gilbert Gonzalez, Director Powerplants at Atlas Air Hover over the image for a bigger view

Gilbert Gonzalez, Director Powerplants at Atlas Air


Gilbert Gonzalez, Director Powerplants at Atlas Air

What was your best flying experience so far?

I very much enjoy passenger flying and watching all of the different landscapes pass by from miles above. I don’t have a pilot’s license, but am inspired by all of the great pilots that fly in our Atlas skies.

Do you have an example of how Atlas Air stands out?

Atlas Air is an industry leader in innovative, outsourced aviation operations and services. Recently, one of our CMI, or crew, maintenance and insurance, customers – for whom we operate aircraft that they provide – needed spare engines and could not access any. Atlas stepped in to lease the engines in order to keep their operation on time.

What is your opinion of MRO in general?

I would say that the MROs that last a long time in this business are the ones that put quality and customers first. This service is important to me. We also appreciate partners who evolve with us, as we do with our customers.

What services do you receive from MTU?

MTU Maintenance carries out maintenance, repair and overhaul coverage of over 200 CF6-80C2 engines powering our B747 and B767 fleets, and performs engine trend monitoring for us. We receive engine overhaul support from MTU Maintenance Hannover and Line Maintenance Support from MTU Maintenance Dallas.

What is the business relationship with MTU like?

MTU is a reliable business partner that consistently provides us with great service. Our strong partnership with MTU has developed over many years. We value our open dialogue with them and their shared focus on finding solutions – in particular smart strategies and material solutions to reduce cost for our mature engines.

Which industry trends do you see now and in the future?

Big Data is the biggest trend I see. We are leveraging our ability to analyze large data sets and use them to forecast and predict the future.

About Atlas Air

Atlas’ companies operate the world’s largest fleet of 747 freighter aircraft and provide customers the broadest array of Boeing 747, 777, 767, 757 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional and international cargo and passenger operations.

Gonzalez says, “the global scale and scope of our fleet and our services, and our flexibility to adapt to our customer’s needs, empowers our express and e-commerce delivery, airline, freight forwarder and charter customers to increase their fleet flexibility and network efficiency, drive an expanded global presence, and more quickly capitalize on market-growth opportunities.”

What happens for Atlas Air next, where is the journey going?

At Atlas, we are maintaining our focus on our longer-term strategies and growth drivers. Our actions include ongoing continuous improvement initiatives designed to increase productivity, enhance efficiency, and grow the business.

We have the right building blocks for the future, including our world-class employees; the modern, efficient, diversified aircraft and services that customers want; our focus on express, e-commerce and fast-growing markets; the scale and scope of our enterprise; and our leadership position in global aviation outsourcing. And of course, our commitment to safety, security and compliance is at the foundation of all we do.

Is there anything we should have asked you but didn’t?

We appreciate partners like MTU who grow and innovate along with us so we can continue to deliver high-quality service to our customers and support their growing global networks.

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