I didn't hear one central theme emerge from our MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, but when you bring 10,000 people from 60 countries together for three days, is that surprising? In previous years, PMA parts, OEM vs. MRO, or in-house vs. outsource issues arose. Those topics still come up—but more as subcomponents of larger issues such as engine overhaul pricing or incorporating used, serviceable material into workscopes.

In the 59 conference sessions, recurring subjects included industry consolidation; cost controls and efficiencies; aircraft retirement rates and life cycles; next-gen avionics upgrades; and inefficiencies in lease returns, to name but a few.

Comments at the event included:

•The part-out trend will accelerate, so expect a wave of younger aircraft to get torn down until the supply-demand cycle corrects itself—Nicholas Pastushan, chief investment officer, transport finance, CIT.

•MROs can target lessors with fleet support packages, because MRO outsourcing is essential to lessors—David Marcontell, president/COO, TeamSAI.

•OEMs are gaining engine market share in providing spare engines and MRO. Airlines can, and probably will, unite and push back—Charles Willis, chairman/CEO, Willis Lease.

•When choosing an interior modification provider, review quality assurance audits, workforce stability and installation times—Amit Patel, manager, Delta Air Lines.

•It is important to understand the variability of turnaround and cycle times (as opposed to just averages) to optimize spares provisioning—Aureo Zanon, senior manager of inventory ownership, United Airlines.

•Latency requirements for ADS-B-out circa 2020 will likely drive many legacy aircraft to upgrade or replace flight-management systems—Joe White, managing director, engineering and maintenance, A4A.

•The bottom line for FAA staffing and sequestration affects: FAA's priority will be maintaining safety of the current system, and other services such as certification will slow dramatically—John Hickey, FAA deputy associate administrator for aviation safety.

•Customers and logistics suppliers “need skin in the game, but not too much skin,” and goals must be measurable and linked to actions within each party's control—John Holmes, group vice president, aviation supply chain, AAR.

So perhaps there is a common theme: costs (driven by efficiencies) and asset utilization unite innovators like you. Our event brings people together to learn and network, which in turn drives more efficiencies and business (and, ideally, helps break down big silos and convert them to collaboration).

Time is money, so let me know what tactical information you need to do your job.

—Lee Ann Tegtmeier

Chief Editor MRO

Tap on the icon in the digital edition of AW&ST's MRO Edition for a video review of the MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition 2013, or go to AviationWeek.com/videos