Airbus delivered its first A350 in October 2015 and hoped to deliver its first A320neo by the end of 2015.
Boeing rolled out the first 737 MAX in December 2015 and expects to complete the aircraft’s first flight in early 2016. As OEMs, MRO providers and airlines prepare for major fleet modernization in the coming years, watch these trends.
Expect the intellectual property battle over maintenance manuals and Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, including component maintenance manuals, to increase in intensity.
Cold Is Hot
Repair technologies get cold: GE introduces cold metal transfer for GE90-94B rotating seals, and AAR Corp. starts using cold spray technology to extend the life of parts. Expect MROs to increase R&D budgets, with one focus being nondestructive testing.
Tailored Workscopes Increase
Airlines incorporate used parts and material to minimize cost and meet component cycle/hours goals as part of a more sophisticated life-cycle management approach—which leads to increased use of tailored workscopes.
M&A Will Be Up
Expect more mergers and acquisitions in the aftermarket this year. Companies will seek to capitalize on the growing MRO market by bundling services and buying engineering and intellectual property assets.
ADS-B Out Is In
Airlines finally start looking into upgrading with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out—but the industry needs some urgency to meet the 2020 mandate.
Big Data & IT Investment
Airlines invest in maintenance planning, mobile applications and maintenance execution tools to gain efficiencies and work toward better use of existing data. Predictive maintenance remains a top goal—especially as new aircraft deliveries ramp up.
New connectivity options such as Gogo’s 2Ku technology improve onboard Wi-Fi and could lead to a further boost in interior modifications.
Supply Chain Risks
As new narrowbody production ramps up, are suppliers ready? Seat suppliers may struggle to keep up, which could hinder cabin refresh projects.
Boeing predicts the aviation industry will need 609,000 new maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. Digital technology and training developments could help start addressing this.
Rolls-Royce changed the structure of its approved maintenance centers to make them more competitive and added Delta TechOps as an independent Trent engine repair center in 2015. Expect more announcements along this line.
Gallery View influential news and events from 2015 that impacted MRO: AviationWeek.com/MROTrends2016