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IATA Airline Maintenance Data Confirms Continued MRO Growth

Volunteer working group at IATA quantifies key items driving maintenance costs for airlines worldwide.

Printed headline: IATA Data Shows Continued MRO Growth

The average fleet age reported by contributors to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) maintenance cost dashboard is 9.3 years. The trade group released preliminary results of its annual benchmarking survey at September’s Maintenance Cost Conference in Greece.

Early analysis suggests the continuance of recent trends in direct maintenance expenses, with engine upkeep making up nearly half of all expenditures. Component maintenance costs contribute another 20%, followed by line maintenance at 19% and base maintenance at 12%.

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The Maintenance Cost Technical Group (MCTG) expects 55 airlines—up from 53 in 2018—to contribute data to this year’s effort, which is aimed at better understanding fleet maintenance cost drivers. Preliminary results released at the conference aggregate data received thus far from 30 airlines. The final report—expected to come out in November—is available for free to any airline (members of IATA as well as non-members) that contributes to the data repository.

The interim numbers find that 41% of respondent airline fleets are under operating lease, consistent with the worldwide average of 40%. Maintenance reserves for the subset total $482 million, with 62% earmarked for engine maintenance. Airframe heavy checks account for 15%, engine life- limited parts account for 13%, and APU, landing gear and thrust reverser maintenance each account for 5% or less of remaining reserves.

Provisional data suggests that 75% of direct maintenance costs are attributable to subcontractors. The remaining quarter of costs is attributable to material, labor and life-limited parts.

The Aviation Week Global MRO Forecast values global MRO spending at $82.5 billion. Market size is expected to reach $99.4 billion by 2027. 

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