Viewpoint

Struggle, strife and opportunity in engine MRO

The fluctuating fortunes of the European engine MRO sector were laid bare on Wednesday (October 21) with operators pinpointing the market’s challenges and opportunities at MRO Network’s Aero-Engines Europe conference in Paris.

During the ‘Europe’s Engine MRO Industry – Struggle and Strife, or Avenues of Opportunity?’ panel discussion, Christophe Giraud, director commercial sales, Aircraft Turbine Centre – AAR, said he felt that the engine MRO market has become increasingly volatile in the past six months.

According to Giraud, this is a result of MRO shops finding it more difficult to meet the technical requirements of customers on certain engine platforms. In addition to this, he cites a decline in popular engines such as the CF6-80C2 as well as some engines having too much material in the market which in turn impacts on price.

“It’s clear worldwide for the typical engine parts market there is a decline in the number of shop visits, explained by the number of carriers preferring to lease or exchange engines rather than do shop visits,” said Giraud.

Fellow panellist Oscar Pérez, engine shop director at Spain’s Iberia Maintenance, said that while he agrees with the challenges detailed by Giraud, there remains a lot of opportunities for MROs in Europe.

He highlighted the growing trend of OEM dominance, an issue that has divided opinion in the industry, as “bringing some opportunities for Iberia to score.”

Pérez added that it is important for MROs to focus on efficiency and service to nurture a healthy cost base. “If a company is focused on customer needs, then they will find opportunities in the market either by partnering with an OEM, growing as an airline MRO or as an MRO belonging to a big group of airlines,” he added.

Meanwhile, Miguel Martins, general manager of engine sales at TAP Portugal, said: “Like in North America, Europe is a region suffering from overcapacity in engine MRO. How we cope with that is the big question.”

While the underlying feeling of the conference’s first day was the engine market remains a place of great opportunity, the panel discussion highlighted its ever-evolving nature and how MROs adapting to this has never been more vital to their sustained success.

A detailed analysis of Aero-Engines Europe and insight into the tour of AFI KLM E&M’s Paris facility will be on the MRO Network website next week.

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