While traditionally the quieter of the two airshows for MRO activity, with Paris bringing a higher volume of agreements, Farnborough nevertheless saw a raft of multi-billion dollar aftermarket deals signed and sealed.
As discussed by Alex Derber in yesterday’s Talking Point, Farnborough was used to showcase the might of the engine manufacturers and their attached service offerings. GE Aviation had a strong showing with a number of airlines signing up for its TrueChoice offering, while its joint venture CFM International amassed more than $8bn in engine orders and service contracts at the show.
Rolls-Royce, whose services division has proved an area of strength in recent years, used Farnborough to announce the extension of its Trent Services Network by adding an Abu Dhabi facility to its approved maintenance centre (AMC) network. The facility will provide maintenance for the Trent XWB engine which powers the A350 aircraft.
Significantly, this will be only the second AMC to operate without Rolls-Royce held equity, joining the Delta TechOps AMC it formed in Atlanta in October 2015. Having outlined its plans to overhaul its network last year, the British engine maker’s Middle Eastern expansion is unsurprising on account of the number of A350s being ordered by the likes of Etihad as well as its growth as an airport hub.
There was also significant updates on aircraft programmes, including Japan’s Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) development with manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft choosing three MRO shops. Maintenance firms HAECO Americas, PEMCO World Air Services and MRO Japan all penned letters of intent with the OEM to become preferred service providers.
While the MRJ is not scheduled to enter into service until 2018, the programme linking up with three established MROs – two of them North American – has undoubtedly boosted Japan’s attempt at competing in the commercial aircraft segment.
Another new entrant into the crowded commercial jet market is TRJet, the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and 328 Support Service collaboration which aims to establish Turkey as a regional aircraft player with the TRJ328 turborprop. TRJet gained four new suppliers at Farnborough, with the programme, first announced at last year’s Paris Air Show now counting Rockwell Collins (avionics), Heggemann (landing gear), Liebherr Aerospace (air management systems) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (engine) as suppliers.
While much discussed, the significance of major aircraft orders also can’t be dismissed in the context of MRO. Despite the Boeing-Airbus duopoly posting combined orders of around $50bn, this was half the number booked at Paris last year. However, new aircraft commitments still bring the potential for new service contracts. As has come to be almost expected at shows in recent years, the majority of large orders came from the booming Asia-Pacific region, with AirAsia $12.6bn commitment for 100 Airbus aircraft the biggest.
Based on the business done this year, Farnborough is increasing as a going concern for aftermarket announcements. Given the segment’s status as a growth market, with Airbus estimating MRO spend will reach $3trn by 2035, future Farnborough’s could prove an even bigger playground for deals.