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Taking Advantage Of Growth In Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, the active aircraft fleet is about 6,850 and will reach 10,300 in 2022. This will generate an MRO market of $16.4bn – 28 per cent of global MRO spend – and this is expected to grow to $26.5bn by 2022, at 5.5 per cent per annum, according to  Dennis Ling, director – Asia Pacific at ICF SH&E, speaking at the Airline E&M: Asia Pacific 2013 conference held in Singapore this month.

Ling observed that absolute MRO growth in monetary terms is “emphatically” in Asia Pacific, China and the Middle East.

So how to take advantage of this growth, and what challenges remain in the region? These were the questions discussed by a variety of expert speakers during the conference. A number of trends were picked up on. Hong Kong Aviation Capital CEO Donal Boylan sees airlines in Asia-Pacific simplifying the number of aircraft types they operate. Increasingly, he noted, “legacy carriers, and not just low-cost carriers, will have just one or two aircraft types” in a build up to a single type of single aisle aircraft and a single type of twin aisle aircraft.

Gijs van Rooijen, product support director components at Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance, highlighted the need to establish a business model of putting inventory around customers and building a maintenance network. He also discussed the “new playing field” with regard to intellectual property, whereby “smaller MROs will have big issues with new technology as entry barriers will be much higher than before”.

As for challenges, these include the usual suspects such as a shortage of trained personnel and cultural and language barriers. A need for regulatory harmonisation was also identified, while Dinesh Jeganathan, manager flight safety at Embraer, discussed the role of the regulator, and touched on the conflict of interest among civil aviation authorities in Asia; cultural differences; living in a punitive environment; and the lack of safety data sharing.

Intriguingly, he also suggested that some OEMs and airline can act illegally because of a lack of enforcement. Some examples he gave include the use of unapproved parts, some maintenance tasks being skipped, or MELs (minimum equipment lists) not being followed. “Regulators should work together to build a robust regulatory framework,” he concluded.

Click here for the full report on Airline E&M: Asia Pacific 2013.

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