Independent MRO providers see both opportunity and challenges ahead as airframe and engine manufacturers make further advances into the services segment.
Philippe Rochet, COO of French MRO Sabena technics, says OEM incursions brings with it “opportunity to develop synergies and bring added-value solutions” to its customer base.
He pinpoints its linkup with Airbus’ MRO Alliance, launched in June 2017 with six initial members, as an example of OEM engagement working to its benefit. “By combining our industrial capacities with their engineering knowledge, the Alliance aims at minimizing heavy maintenance turnaround times and maximizing added-value on the customer’s aircraft during the grounding period,” Rochet says.
Jeremy Ramacha, CEO of Swiss independent maintenance company SR Technics, admits that the market has become more competitive over the past few years. “The MRO market has seen some strong competition and OEMs are providing more and more aftermarket services,”
However, he believes that SR Technics is well-positioned to strengthen its partnership with OEMs and specifically points out opportunities in two growth segments – the robust engine services industry and modifications work, with the latter forecast by ICF International to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2%, outstripping the overall industry CAGR average of 4.1%.
“I believe this will provide interesting opportunities for SR Technics, our partners and our customers,” he says.
Outside of Europe in Central America, Costa Rica’s Coopesa, which holds repair capabilities for A320, 737, E-190 and MD80 aircraft and is constructing a new hangar for paint services, says it is open minded about the market options of aligning with an OEM.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Berger, managing director of New York-based consultancy Alton Aviation, believes the challenge-opportunity ratio is finely balanced. “OEMs will continue to be under tremendous shareholder pressure to grow their aftermarket revenue. Greater MRO market share capture will have to come at the expense of someone,” he says of the challenges.
However, Berger also identifies a specific area in which independents could prosper with their OEM affiliation through focusing on mature and out-of-production jets, leaving the manufacturers themselves to give new generation aircraft greater focus.