MRO providers are struggling for survival because they are unable to match intensely seasonal demand with higher prices.
Most European airlines perform their maintenance over a five-month period during the winter, so they can maximize their aircraft utilization during the lucrative summer months.
However, Austrian Technik Bratislava managing director Wolfgang Henle told delegates at MRO Europe in London that this is pushing MROs to breaking point.
“Just a year ago, I had to close down one of our MROs and lay off 150 employees,” he said. “In order to survive, prices for winter maintenance have to double—everyone wants to do the same thing at the same time.”
MROs struggle to cope with training enough people to meet this surge in demand, which does not fit with the basic economics of supply and demand.
“Do you see prices doubling in winter, or any price difference between summer and winter? What we have is a market where the customer controls the price. This is just a weirdness of the industry and why so many MROs drop out. With more and more MROs dropping off there won’t be enough supply,” he cautioned.