Mexican aviation is expanding steadily. AeroMexico passenger counts are up 20% from a year ago, and two low-cost carriers (LCC) are expanding rapidly. The country already has a substantial middle-class travel market that will only get bigger.
For successful young MRO providers, economy is essential and growth is a constant goal. “Effective energy- consumption management is one of our main priorities,” says CEO Zilvinas Lapinskas of FL Technics, based in Lithuania. All FL hangars and repair shops have integrated energy-control systems that monitor and automatically change electricity and heating.
More MROs are entering the VIP completions market, which not only could lead to increased competition but to overcapacity, as well, fears Walter Heerdt, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Lufthansa Technik.
The digital revolution first put maintenance data online, saving paper and major hassles. Then laptops brought data to techs, saving walking time to desktops and kiosks. Smartphones, handhelds and tablets are starting to cut weight from techs' bags and shoulders. What's next?
Maintenance-management applications at even the largest airlines are still a mixture of old systems, newer applications and plenty of work in progress. Among the carriers that the International Air Transport Association ranks as the Top 10 in passengers transported in 2012, those in the U.S. are furthest behind, those in Europe are the most advanced and one in China is taking an in-house approach.
One big trend in recent aftermarket activity has been the increasing importance of OEM support, especially in engine work. For the biggest MRO deals, manufacturers often seem to compete mostly with shops that are part of a global airline, like Lufthansa or Air France.
The long-predicted consolidation of the aviation used-parts business appears to be finally happening, or at least accelerating significantly.
The case for consolidating aircraft aftermarkets, both in repair work and in supply chain provision, always has been strong. The logic is that bigger, more diversified companies can provide more comprehensive services to airlines that want to outsource functions that others can expedite more efficiently.
Almost 20 years into the program, many Boeing 777 parts are still scarce and expensive in aftermarket trading. This may be what the future looks like for other new models that rely on OEMs and long-term agreements for future support.
A majority of 777 parts are in short supply, according to Zilvinas Sadauskas, CEO of Locatory.com. “Only 20% of 777 inventories may be found on the open market,” Sadauskas notes. Airframe, component and engine OEMs have maintained tight control of the market. Some engine OEMs buy old engines to secure their position in spares.