Alongside those technologies designed or adapted to improve MRO processes, there are those that reshape the sector simply by their existence further up the value chain. At present, the best example is the increasing share of composite material in new aircraft and the global fleet, which has forced MRO providers to add a suite of carbon fiber-related capabilities to their traditional strengths in the inspection, testing and repair of metal parts.
To help this process Airbus Services has launched a new "Structure Training" offer focusing on composite materials.
Initially the training will focus on the composite-heavy Airbus A350. It will use a modular approach to teach the skills needed for damage assessment, inspection procedures and repair activities.
Airlines in Europe and Asia have already signed up, says Airbus.
A new process for rapid inspection of composite and metallic structures without any surface treatment removal is near-infrared (NIR) scanning. MROs such as Emirates Engineering are experimenting with the technique, which they hope will soon allow also non-contact 3D scanning.
Airbus’s commercial aircraft business posted about €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion) of aftermarket sales in the first half of the year, which equated to roughly 7% of total revenue.
The European aircraft manufacturer reported $3.7 billion of services revenue in 2018, 14% higher than the previous year, and is confident about further growth following a busy Paris Air Show for its aftermarket products.
Airbus says it is “on track” towards its goal of generating $10 billion of annual services revenue within the next decade.
Its latest support contract is with Indian carrier Vistara, which has signed a long-term flight-hour-based contract covering engineering and maintenance for 62 Airbus A320 aircraft.