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Why Is Aircraft Maintenance Growing More Expensive & How Are Airlines Adapting?

For almost two decades, airlines have moved away from conducting in-house maintenance procedures and have begun opting for third-party providers to complete their services. As there are many independent service companies, a majority maintain relatively stable rates and ensure enough capacity to accommodate aviation’s needs. However, with maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) procedures undergoing major modifications, many airlines are ditching service providers and are carrying out such operations themselves.

More recently, the aviation industry has released numerous announcements about plans to reinvest in MRO in-house capacity. More than that, they are looking to even offer their services to other carriers, adding an extra source of revenue to their pockets. Prior to understanding why airlines are making this change, you must know how MRO providers will deal with such transformations.

To begin, there are only a few reputable, independent MRO providers due to consolidation. Presently, aerospace manufacturers have started to expand into MRO and assert their control over the intellectual property (IP) behind engines, components, and airframes. Such peculiarities have made it harder for smaller MRO providers, forcing them to consolidate. 

With new technologies surfacing such as predictive maintenance, it is becoming increasingly expensive for these service providers to stay up to date. Furthermore, it is difficult to locate mechanics with the comprehensive knowledge and capacity to repair pre-2000 aircraft, as well as planes manufactured after the start of the new millennium. As such, major airlines like Airbus and Boeing have indicated that they intend to increase their MRO services in the next few years.

For instance, at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus declared it would triple its revenue from MRO to $10 billion in just one decade. Similarly, Boeing announced it anticipated $50 billion in revenue over the next ten years. That being said, it is clear that the MRO sector of the aviation realm is expecting to see many transformations. However, the bigger question still stands: how will the industry accommodate the growth?

The truth is that there are not enough trained mechanics or specialized aircraft maintenance technicians, with millennials failing to be recruited in sufficient numbers. As per the Oliver Wyman Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast, this insufficiency will expand to more than 9% by 2027 as the fleet is reaching its peak size. Additionally, there may also be a potential shortage in airframe and engine MRO capacity. To avoid these shortages, airlines are equipping themselves with big in-house crew and facilities to accommodate their own internal needs.

It is important to note that some airlines, such as Delta and Lufthansa, never left the maintenance business. In fact, they have a track record as service suppliers to countless other carriers. In this case, growth has motivated these parent airlines to grow the MRO sector of their business. If you are a third-party provider for airlines big and small or a maintenance technician in need of aircraft MRO parts that have been sourced from the largest aircraft manufacturers across the globe, rely on Nascent Aero.

Nascent Aero is a leading distributor of all types of aircraft overhaul and maintenance parts, industrial equipment, and more. With over 2 billion ready-to-purchase products in our inventory, customers can fulfill their operational needs with ease. Initiate the purchasing process by requesting a quote on any item that sparks your interest. You can access a quote request form via our Instant RFQ service or by clicking on any available item. When completing a form, we ask that you include expected shipping time frames, desired quantities, target prices, and more as applicable. The more information you include, the better we can tailor a solution that meets your operational requirements. Get started today, and see why customers steadily depend on Nascent Aero!


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