Global maintenance company AAR looks set for further expansion after appointing an industry heavyweight to its acquisitions team.
Dylan Wolin, AAR’s new vice-president, strategy and acquisitions, joins after a nine-year spell at Boeing, where he was director, corporate development. Previously he covered mergers and financing within the aerospace sector for Deutsche Bank.
“As we look to strategically grow AAR’s portfolio, Dylan’s extensive background in mergers and acquisitions in aerospace and defense bolsters our in-house capacity to analyze opportunities,” said David Storch, AAR’s chief executive.
The first question, then, is whether AAR will prioritise market share or the addition of new product lines. Last September’s purchase of Sonic Aviation, an aircraft painting and stripping operation in Miami, was mostly about the latter.
Horizontal integration, however, may now be more important as AAR seeks to extend its reach into more parts of the world.
MRO consolidation has advanced quickest in the engine sector, often driven by the OEMs’ pursuit of joint ventures and outright takeovers at engine shops in order to tighten their grips on the aftermarket and the spare parts supply chain.
Airframe maintenance, in contrast, is a more diversified business due to smaller barriers to entry, less reliance on specialist engineering skills and equipment, and a tiny OEM presence in the aftermarket. Companies often wait for a rival to fail, and then pick them up at a discount rather than take over successful concerns.
Component maintenance sits in the middle, though many expect component OEMs to follow the engine manufacturers’ example and move more aggressively into the aftermarket.
Meanwhile, many maintenance providers have added component capabilities via acquisitions: AAR bought London-based Airinmar in 2011; ST Aerospace invested in SAS Components; and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO) bought North Carolina-based TIMCO Aviation Services in 2014.
More examples could be on the way.