Although there are some early signs that higher fuel prices and fares may at least trim passenger traffic growth, Monarch Aircraft Engineering is not foreseeing any effects on MRO for the rest of 2018.
“Looking at the next six months of confirmed work, we are seeing no signs of a slowdown,” says managing director Chris Dare. “The volume of requests for base checks has increased, and we are looking at longer-term contracts as operators seek high-quality, cost-effective options.”
When and if a slowdown comes, Dare expects it will chiefly affect lighter checks. “For operators not flying into the UK or more than two hours away, a slowdown has the potential to disrupt the market for smaller base checks of seven days and under.” But heavier checks should be less affected. “The impact will be smaller for heavy maintenance checks of 20 days or more.”
Much of Monarch’s work now consists of line checks for UK and some non-UK carriers. Dare is not too worried here. “Unless operators reduce commercial flying, we do not foresee a reduction in demand for line maintenance.” Again, it’s the heavy checks that are most vulnerable. “We may see changing requirements for base maintenance as operators look to have checks completed closer to current flying routes.”
Even with a modest slowdown, the general outlook is for continued growth in MRO demand, pressing current MRO capacity in some cases. But that does not mean building new capacity is the only response. Dare says Monarch constantly looks for ways to improve efficiency and reduce input times. “Reducing input times returns the aircraft to the operator more quickly, thereby increasing commercial flying time, and allows us to increase capacity in existing facilities.”