HAMBURG--A few mega trends are reshaping the engine MRO market, but two stand out as dominate factors because their force will have lasting effects, says a Lufthansa Technik executive speaking at Aviation Week Network’s Aero-Engines Europe.

While engine shop capacity is tight—largely due to an influx of new and mature engines needing modification or overhaul that wasn’t predicted, and the resulting need for key parts—is producing short-term strain, the new engine types going into service will reshape the powerplant market for decades, says Bernhard Krueger-Sprengel, Lufthansa Technik VP engine services. The other big trend is digitization.

New engine types—such as the Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan, CFM International LEAP, Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and XWB, and GE Aviation GE9X—will operate for about 30 years “and will shape the market and how it deals with it,” says Krueger-Sprengel.

While each engine OEM has different aftermarket strategies, they all are a dominating factor in reshaping the market. A greater portion of airlines are signing up for long-term maintenance agreements for these next-gen engines, to transfer risk early in the operational cycle, so that also gives OEMs more influence on pricing and volume—key components of cost.

Given this, independent MROs are deciding whether to partner with OEMs to gain access to intellectual property and be part of the OEM networks to get enough volume to justify investing in these new engines; yet they also are weighing how to differentiate their services, points out Krueger-Sprengel.

He says there’s no clear roadmap or guidance in determining when to compete and when to cooperate. “Independent MROs need their own value proposition,” he says.

For Lufthansa Technik, he says a major differentiator is its focus on reducing the volume of parts to avoid scrap. In addition to repair development, using data to predict when parts will need attention is another key factor in doing this.

Kreuger-Sprengel says using Big Data analytics will become a key enabler to optimize costs, predict when maintenance will be required and optimize the timing of shop visits—especially on these newer generation of engines.