Aircraft Maintenance Technology

MAR 2018

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

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Heydays indeed, but disruptive nonetheless. The consolidative trend of recent years continues seemingly unabated. Oliver Wyman cites Illinois- based AAR's move to purchase a pair of Canadian MRO facilities from Premier Aviation as well as China's HNA Aviation Group's acquisition of Swiss- headquartered SR Technics. The big are, quite simply, getting bigger. The Executive Summary says, "The trend in MRO is cutting the number of players while simultaneously increasing the scale of those left standing." Increase not just in scale, but in diversity of product as well. StandardAero CEO Russell Ford says in 2017 his company completed the acquisition of a large engine MRO firm, as well as a pair of powerplant component repair companies. "Since engine MRO companies are often owned by engine OEMs or airlines we don't see quite as much acquisition opportunity in that area as we do in a more fragmented space like engine component repair and manufacturing." David Marcontell believes such OEM ascendance is a powerful force to be reckoned with by the MRO industry. The general manager and senior vice president of CAVOK, a division of Oliver Wyman says, "With the exception of line and airframe heavy maintenance, we are truly beginning to imagine in the not too distant future a world dominated by OEMs, much like the automotive industry." But OEM heft, Marcontell is quick to add, "doesn't mean that the place for independent MRO has disappeared." Indeed not. Tallinn, Estonia headquartered Magnetic MRO is an example of the fact that you don't necessarily have to be huge to be viable. Magnetic's operations manager Kaspars Podins says that in the upcoming year, "We will see new aircraft starting to visit MROs more:" Boeing 787s, Airbus A350s, A320neos, and Boeing 737 MAXes. The new breed of geared turbofans is going to be paying visits too. Podins says as these new generation jets are introduced with their new technologies and vastly improved operating costs, "This will also lead to customer demand for improvements and modifications on older narrowbody aircraft." Gregoire Lebigot, president and CEO of Vallair, says, "Current larger operators are now booking greater capacity further in advance. RFQs for slots dating through to 2019 and beyond are becoming routine rather than the exception. Ultimately, this is putting greater pressure on the smaller operators, who may not have the ability of their larger competitors to reserve such capacity so far in advance." Boeing's play to capture more of the aftermarket, with a goal of $US50 billion, is illustrative of what's going on here. Oliver Wyman research indicates that OEMs servicing engines handle some 53 percent of the powerplant market. Airlines and their affiliated MRO operations control 64 percent of the airframe and maintenance market and OEMs a hefty 58 percent of the component aftermarket. Propelling growth is the burgeoning global fleet. Oliver Wyman believes by 2028 the worldwide array of commercial aircraft will increase to 37,978. That's B737 WINGLET having the contour inspection performed prior to going to paint at Aircraft Technical Services (ATS). ATS JEROME GREER CHANDLER is a two time winner in the Aerospace Journalist of the Year competition's Best Maintenance Submission category; he won in 2000 and 2008. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Aerospace Media Awards in Paris, France. His best-seller 'Fire and Rain' chronicles the wind shear crash of Delta Flight 191 at DFW.

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