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Asia Pacific aircraft and engine MRO market poised to take off

Palo Alto, CA -- The idea of outsourcing non-core maintenance operations is gaining popularity with aircraft operat...


Palo Alto, CA — The idea of outsourcing non-core maintenance operations is gaining popularity with aircraft operators in the Asia Pacific region — particularly in the commercial segment — and is creating opportunities for independent maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service providers.

A new report from Frost & Sullivan (www.aerospace.frost.com), Asia Pacific Aircraft and Engine MRO Market, reveals that revenues in this industry totalled $5.2 billion in 2002 and are projected to reach $7.3 billion by 2011.

Current market trends reveal that airline operators are increasingly looking for comprehensive solutions that include scheduled heavy maintenance and engine checks over a fixed number of years.

“To provide a ‘total’ solution encompassing all possible types of maintenance and repair from ‘nose-to-tail,’ MRO service providers must form strong relationships with aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), second-tier OEMs such as manufacturers of avionics and landing gears, and aircraft engine OEMs,” remarks Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Vignesh Kadirvel.

Increasing deregulation in the airline industry also impacted the demand for outsourcing; it has helped attract numerous privately owned operators that give priority to selling of seats and prefer to outsource almost all other operations associated with commercial aircraft.

On the other hand, the military segment is yet to embrace outsourcing in a big way. Most countries in the Asia Pacific region are reluctant to entrust the maintenance of high-tech military equipment to third parties, preferring to keep it in-house. However, due to lack of technical knowledge of in-house staff or inherent system complexities, the maintenance of the aircraft is often compromised.

Again, forging alliances with aircraft OEMs can help MRO service providers highlight this issue to the relevant Ministries of Defense and convince them of the benefits of outsourcing such operations to specialized independent providers.

Aircraft engines as well as the diagnostic systems used to service them are seeing a substantial increase in both price and complexity.

“The acquisition and maintenance of diagnostic systems together with the expense of training mechanics has increased the costs associated with an engine tremendously,” says Kadirvel. “Given the number of new engines in service, the benefit of the increased MRO associated with engines has been difficult to gauge.”

Nevertheless, companies must allocate the necessary funds to train technicians in the intricacies of aircraft engines and their diagnostic systems as well as to develop tooling and support capability for engine repair. This is becoming increasingly crucial for engine MRO participants to succeed.