Looking back at two special issues of Aviation Week & Space Technology that were published around the very first Aviation Week MRO Conference 21 years ago in Dallas, Texas it is fun to note a lot of comparisons to today. The distinct differences are fun to note too.
The March 11, 1996 cover shouts “Maintenance Enjoys Stable Growth.” And since those early days maintenance has in fact done exactly that. Sure there have been some hiccups over the decades. (Shortly after 9-11 comes to mind). But what a joy to watch those forecast numbers jump up and up at a relatively steady pace over the years.
Today there is concern about how Asia is going to manage to have enough qualified aircraft maintainers and how to keep them trained on the latest and newest technologies that aircraft operate with. Makes it odd to see headlines in 1996 about Asian overcapacity.
Two decades ago the really big headlines said things like: “Cost Pressures Dive Cooperation.” Stories talked about slashing costs and saving time. Sounds pretty familiar). Even then Boeing CEO Phil Condit talked about airlines and MROs finding ways to cooperate and have a mutual dialogue. That discussion is still going on. It happens at MRO Americas all the time. But what a difference a decade or two makes. Boeing and the other OEMs have worked hard to find ways to expand their own profits through the aftermarket. Back then the engine OEMs such as General Electric; Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce were developing a large number of specialized repair techniques for turbofan engines they maintain. Today the strategy has shifted to Power-by-the-Hour agreements and much more influence from the OEMs.
An interesting read from 21 years ago….. enjoy and see you in Dallas really soon.