MRO Memo: That’s August, Folks

MRO shops have seen an uptick in August activity in contrast to previous years.
Credit: Joramco

The month of August is traditionally one of the quietest in terms of industry news and events in normal times. But as these times are still far from normal, the month has seen some interesting and unusual occurrences.

Among these is the busyness of MRO shops. Traditionally, aircraft will be operating to near full capacity during the peak summer months, but given the continued suppression of passenger numbers, many aircraft remain either parked or in long-term storage. Nevertheless, passenger numbers are very slowly picking up so work is underway to return some of these aircraft into service-ready condition.

A trip I took earlier this week to STS Aviation’s Birmingham hangar was testament to this. The company says it has surpassed expectations for its hangar activity this year, reaching more than 75% for 2021 so far. August has also been uncharacteristically busy as it undertakes lighter heavy checks in the hangar on commercial aircraft, with one prominent cargo operator currently undergoing a C-check. Other work such as modifications of aircraft interiors have also been popular.

Lease transitions are also contributing to some of the summer work in other shops. In the Middle East, Joramco is seeing 30% of its heavy checks are related to this at present. “We are enjoying our busiest summer season, usually a quiet season,” says Fraser Currie, Joramco's chief commercial officer told Aviation Week earlier this month. “We usually are at full capacity thought the first quarter, then it drops off. That drop-of has not happened this year.”

The M&A market has also showed signs of picking up in August, something that may carry through to the rest of 2021. Earlier this month, U.S.-based Unical Aviation, a supplier of new and used serviceable material parts, was acquired by Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity. This week in the UK, a country expected to have more consolidation in the next two years, saw Storm Aviation buy Chevron Technical Services – adding further base maintenance capacity to its European network.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.