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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"In … Asia, the biggest MRO market and with the strongest growth predicted, several national initiatives are trying to create new MRO clusters," says Norbert Marx, CEO of Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Ltd. (GAMECO). "China will proceed with large scale integration of networks and subsequent industrialization, creating some strong contenders to today's industry leaders." MTU Maintenance senior vice president of MRO programs, Leo Koppers says, "We will further invest in our Chinese facility. Its capacity of 300 shop visits per year is to be expanded in capacity by another 50 percent again within coming years so as to keep up with local market growth as well as to accommodate any new programs." New programs, added capacity, new acquisitions. All of this affects MRO spend. For comparison's sake, at right is Oliver Wyman's geographic rundown of projected MRO spend in 2028. Add all this up and the aggregate worldwide expenditure on maintenance, repair and overhaul in 2028 is US$114.7 according to Oliver Wyman's projections. This compares with 2018's forecast of US$77.4 billion. CLEAR AIR TURBULENCE In the never-ending quest to cut operating costs, the study says "unexpected problems" can arise. The newer crop of aircraft, particularly the 787 and A350, not only have long legs, they possess commensurately longer airframe maintenance intervals. That extends the time between scheduled downtime. Here's the problem: traditional check intervals used to offer airlines a pre-arranged time slot to refurbish interiors. The new timetables 'twist checks "no longer afford timely opportunities for cabin repairs," concludes the Executive Summary. There's also an impediment to universal adoption of an array of additive manufacturing tools. The Oliver Wyman study says, "The cost of equipment and OEMs' reluctance to share proprietary designs make it difficult for the MRO industry to adopt 3-D printing for spare parts or for the aftermarket to derive any real tangible benefit from the new technology." But the greatest gremlin lurking out there is one MROs have been grappling with for years now: a paucity of trained technicians. The generation gap plays a real role here. Baby boomers, those who possess the technological know-how to work on old as well as newer aircraft are retiring, and millennials are loathe to pursue a career in aviation maintenance. In the United States the report cautions of a shortfall by 2022, with a 9 percent gap projected between the supply of aircraft technicians and the demand for them by 2027. "This shortage could produce problems for the aviation industry just as the fleet is expanding and technologically sophisticated aircraft are being incorporated." The industry is addressing the problem by increasing wages and emphasizing training. "We're working hard. All of us are," says Paul Dolan, COO of Aviation Technical Services. The aim is "to attract new technicians to the industry and promote the field as an attractive long-term career option." That entails paying competitive wages and "robust training" with local schools. AAR's vice president of MRO Services, Troy Jonas, echoes Dolan's sentiments. "There's been a shortfall of high-quality technical jobs like AMTs (aircraft main- Oliver Wyman's Projected MRO Spend in 2028 Geographic Location USD Billion Africa 3.4 Asia Pacific 20.9 China 17.8 Eastern Europe 4.3 India 3.2 Latin America 6.2 Middle East 13.5 Western Europe 21.7

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