The used serviceable material (USM) market has long proven a cost-effective way for airlines and operators to acquire parts. Given the industry focus on driving savings for maintenance, while carriers are flying mature aircraft types for longer than expected, the USM segment is expected to thrive for at least the next five years, and possibly beyond then. This scenario has led to parts specialists furthering investment in their USM inventories, with Satair one of the companies looking to grow this side of the business.
Sylvain Gorse, project manager for strategy and portfolio management at Satair, says it holds an ambition is to become the market leader in the USM segment. “The target is to cover multi platforms, including both Airbus and Boeing aircraft, as well as regional platforms and engines,” he says.
The Airbus subsidiary has been proactive in furthering its growth. In April of last year, it entered a cooperation with VAS Aero Services, which saw the U.S.-based company support Satair for servicing, certification, warehousing and distribution of OEM excess parts inventory for both surplus and USM material. One year later, the partnership was expanded to include airframe and engine products.
From a regional perspective, Gorse has pinpointed a few regions that are enthusiastic about USM. “Americas and Europe are the biggest markets, and there is a growing interest coming from Asia-Pacific,” he says.
“At the moment demand for USM is very strong and it will probably stay like that for years,” says Filip Stanisic, head of engine management department at Magnetic MRO. On the issue of supply and demand, he feels eventually, the accelerated number of retirements will have an impact on the USM market. “At some moment in time, there will be more parts on the market then needed but at which exact moment, we can’t tell,” he says.
Paul Richardson, VP sales, EMEA at U.S. components specialist AAR, says there are multiple factors accounting for the longevity of USM. “The market is vibrant with many shops servicing the mature engines, driven by longer- than-expected utilization of current generation assets,” he says. “This has been extended due to low energy pricing, lease extension of the current fleet, and some unfortunate teething problems of new generation engines and associated delivery delays.”