The line maintenance segment is expected to be solid if unspectacular from a growth perspective over the next decade, according to Aviation Week’s 2018 Fleet & MRO Forecast, but many MROs are still looking to add new line stations.
While not garnering the same level of dollar generation as the engine or component segments, which combined account for 66% of all repair work taking place this year, line maintenance still accounts for 21% of industry repair activity in 2018.
While this will remain at 21% 10 years from now in 2027, it will be part of a growing MRO industry worth more than $100 billion in comparison to this year’s $88.3 billion.
Around 37% of repair work carried out on the Airbus A350 between now and 2027 is expected to be line maintenance. Line maintenance work on pervasive new narrowbodies such as the Airbus A320neo family and Boeing 737 MAX family, both expected to dominate the global narrowbody fleet in 10 years’ time, will account for 34% and 44% of all of their repair activity respectively, Aviation Week data shows.
Considering the number of new generation aircraft in the global fleet requiring less heavy maintenance hangar work, the line maintenance segment remains an attractive proposition, particularly to some of the industry’s independent repair specialists.
Europe especially is home to some vibrant line station growth activity, with traffic operating at a steady pace along with fleet expansions from some of the continent’s low-cost carriers. In the past year, the likes of Monarch Aircraft Engineering have added new line stations to its network, setting up in Edinburgh and Nice focusing on the 737NG and the 737 MAX.
FL Technics, the Lithuania-based MRO, established four line stations in 2017 with station openings in Latvia, Germany, Spain and Russia. The company told MRO-Network in November 2017 that it expects a similar pattern this year.
Magnetic MRO, fresh off establishing a new presence in Copenhagen last summer and previously five new line stations in Europe in 2016, is also anticipating more locations on the continent this year.
This week, after signing a line services agreement with Spanish carrier Air Nostrum for its fleet of Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft, plans to set up two new outstations in Groningen and Hamburg airports by the end of March to provide line maintenance and AOG support to CRJ aircraft operated by Estonian airline Nordica.