MRO Memo: Backstory Of Annual Top 10 MRO Predictions

Creating our annual Top 10 MRO Predictions list for the upcoming year usually includes a four-step process. It starts the second half of November because it appears in the MRO section of Aviation Week & Space Technology’s annual Aerospace & Defense issue, which is available the end of December—so it is time for prediction making!

First, I fleetingly envision myself presenting our Top 10 list similar to how David Letterman infamously staged the Late Show lists but then toss out that idea because I’m simply not that funny.

Second, my realistic side kicks in—I ponder the next year—and generate a list of what I think will be solid, but forward-looking predictions. They can’t be too “safe” because the word prediction comes from the Latin word praedico, which means “make known beforehand.” 

Step three: after drafting an initial list, I look at the Top 10 predictions I had written the previous year for the current year and assess how I did. Most of the time I think 8 or 9 of them came true.

Step four: I share the list with my Aviation Week MRO colleagues and get their feedback. This often results in changing one.

While my colleague James Pozzi is taking over the Top 10 MRO Predictions 2022, it’s that time of the year where I naturally think of the project so just looked at the list for 2021. 

It’s the worst one I’ve created!

Of the 10, I think I struck out on #1 (airframe capacity) and #4 (M&A) and only got half of each of the following right: #3 (supply chain: correct, but the consolidation prediction didn’t happen), #8 (sustainability: some progress but it certainly wasn’t the “year of sustainability”) and #9 (all eyes on summer: too much variation by region due so this wasn’t 100% accurate). 

Here’s the link to the Top 10 MRO Predictions for 2021:

Do you agree with my self-assessment as of Nov. 18, 2021? 

Surprisingly, the Top 10 MRO Predictions for 2020 were pretty good despite the global pandemic, but the Southeast Asia and Latin expansions slowed down, and M&A definitely didn’t accelerate! Here’s that list:

Given that my predictions for 2020 were better than for 2021, I think it’s good that James is compiling the 2022 list! 

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.