In the upcoming years, we will see new aircraft types starting to visit MROs more often for maintenance – the first new generation B787, A350, A320neo, B737 MAX and so on. New types of engines like Geared Turbofan engines, too. Fast development is challenging aftermarket support availability. This means MROs will have to meet challenges and naturally keep up-to-date, trained engineers for maintaining mixed types of fleets.
As new-generation aircraft are introduced with new technologies and improved operating costs, it will also lead to customers demanding improvements and modifications on older narrow-body aircraft. High factors for MROs will still remain and it is going to be a challenge keeping service costs sustainable, while also keeping quality, flexibility and service standards high – after all, these are the key drivers for customers. And last but not least, being globally recognised with years of experience will continue to shape customers’ decision-making processes.
As I mentioned before, the new advanced technologies and methods will be the biggest challenges for MROs in the upcoming years. As new modern aircraft types come into service, pure technical knowledge alone will not be enough. It will, however, still be required to have interpersonal skills to be successful in a multiform MRO market. OEMs are ready to chase the aftermarket. Boeing, Airbus as well as engine OEMs are securing the aftermarket with long-term exclusive agreements with restricted third-party MRO support more than ever before.
The significant issue in our own region is the narrow range of customers, which leads to very tight competition for maintenance business. We have a great product range at a fair price – but we’re competing against internationally well-known bigger MROs for global customers. Compared to our European competitors we are still small. Fortunately we have a good strategy and approach in how to compete with them though, and there’s more coming this year!
Another problem on the market is the lack of experienced engineers, and industry professionals with the right mindset are difficult to find these days for maintenance services. There is tight competition to attract the right people and at the same time be competitive on the market with other MROs. That is why we invest in our engineers and raise their qualifications to meet upcoming requirements and challenges.
There are challenging times ahead but we must not forget about one of the bigger developments in the MRO business – the Asian market, which is poised for major demand and orders for new generation aircraft. There is no question that demands and requests of MROs and their global services are especially growing in this region.
* You can find Kaspar's interview on this subject onAMT's Mart Issue or directly on AviationPros' websiteunder the subject of "MRO Market for Next 10 Years Is Basically Bullish, But Challenges Remain"