Aircraft repair shops pivot to stay afloat during COVID-19


FORNEY, Texas – COVID-19 has prompted many business owners to rethink their strategy for long-term success. Dozens of industrial sectors ranging from retail to tourism will all feel the financial pinch of COVID-19 for years to come. While businesses have now built a stronger digital platform, others are expanding their reach and services to maintain cash flow.

Aircraft Duct Repair in Forney, TX is one of those companies that recently adjusted their business model due to the reduced number of planes flying through the air. COVID-19 has virtually halted air travel from March 2020.

“Our business dropped 80% overnight,” said Rodney Alford, the owner of the FAA-certified repair shop.

One of the smokers in aircraft duct repair is building (Spectrum News 1)

With fewer planes flying through the air, the airplane parts repair shop had to turn to other resources to keep the 36 employees with on the payroll. So instead of slowing down on the production line, Alford and his welders began to assemble barbecue smoke pits.

“In fact, the main reason we did this was to keep people on the job,” Alford said. “The last thing we wanted to do during COVID was fire someone.”

Alford said his family of welders decided to come up with the lucrative plan to design and manufacture custom smokers after noticing that other brands didn’t offer as much variety. Alford also knew families would spend more time socializing and eating together, instead of going out on special occasions.

“It’s been a really good stress reliever,” Alford said. “The pressure in building a smoker is not at all like the pressure in repairing an airplane part.”

The barbecues take around two weeks to build from the raw material and have brought a sense of relief to a team of hardworking individuals ready to weld, all of which comes along as the aviation industry is slowly reborn. Alford believes their solution to their financial headaches from last year is here to stay, he recently formalized and created a separate business for smokers called Smokin Pitts & Custom Sitts LLC.

“We had to have something to do,” Alford said. “You can’t just sit idly by, the worst thing a human can do is sit idly by. We just had to move forward in the best way we knew.”

Rodney Alford (Spectrum News 1)

Rodney Alford (Spectrum News 1)

The shift from simply repairing airplane parts to building pit smokers and wooden devices has raised the blue collar family to continue manufacturing through good and bad, because there is always a product. in need.

“Obviously a year ago we didn’t know COVID or a pandemic was coming,” Alford said. “We take it day in and day out and really enjoy what we’re doing.”

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