Aircraft Maintenance Technology

APR 2014

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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Page 24 of 35 | 25 OEM pressure The already intense competition has in fact become even more acute. The OEMs which are exploiting the opportunity of f leet replacement in order to continue their expansion in the MRO market see the region as an additional source to recoup their investment in developing new technologies. Thus, because of the limited access to repair information in technical manuals for these new technologies, an increased pace of modification to key parts and the popularity of such long-term maintenance programs like Edge, GoldCare, or TotalCare, OEMs have successfully expanded and secured their business in the region. Nevertheless, according to FL Technics experts, despite the fact that OEMs are tak ing an increasing share of the market, global MRO players are unlikely to reshape the MRO industr y in the region in the near future. This has partly to do with the fact that the local players have been investing into the grow th of their own capacity (good examples of which are the doubled capacity of AeroStar Romania, as well as A A R and FL Technics' projects in Ulyanovsk, Russia and FL Technics' new 8,000 sq m hangar in Kaunas, Lithuania) for quite a while now. Moreover, the local MROs have reacted to the changes in the environment by opting for consolidations or cooperation agreements with OEMs (e.g. FL Technics being Boeing's GoldCare partner). Such partnerships have not only helped to raise competitiveness (and the resistance to the pressure from other market players), but also allowed the local prov iders to offer a larger scope of ser v ices and broaden the aftermarket support. Labour challenges One of the other reasons why the independent MROs in the region have been able to compete with some of the major play- ers until now was definitely the fact that Eastern Europe has lower labour rates than in the West. However, the recent trends suggest that salary-wise things are inevitably going to change and the providers will face the need to offer something more than just competitive prices. At the same time, another labour- related challenge facing the industry is how to recruit, train and retain enough engineers to fulfill the current and future MRO demand, while ensuring that the engineers are trained to a sufficient standard and can offer the right experience. "Currently every MRO provider in the region has to focus on a two-way strategy. First, they have to maintain the exist- ing work force by providing continuous qualification updates, required to support and inspect the new technologies, engines and composite materials. Then they also need to develop new work force solutions, as the global personnel deficiency prob- lem hasn't spared these parts," says Zilvinas Lapinskas. "Of course, this could be perceived as a good thing. Bringing in new and younger people has specific advantages, as they are not burdened by any pre-existing behaviours as well as are gener- ally cheaper to recruit. However, experience always counts and these newcomers may not always be as effective and efficient as fully competent staff. That is which is why they [the new- comers] require effective supervision and ongoing training." According to the executive, while in-house training is always the best approach, as it is a good way of securing the quality of your services, training decisions should be adapted to fit the needs and complexity of the organization. Thus, in some cases entering into training partnerships or leasing the personnel may prove to be more effective. "In general, f lexibility, cus- tomer-oriented service and tailor-made solutions are probably amongst the best means to remain in the game in the region today, which is not so different from the global industry. The statistics show that clients don't necessarily choose a bigger provider. It's the performance that truly counts." AMT_24-25_MRO_EasternEurope.indd 25 4/3/14 1:56 PM

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