One Thing You Should Do To Overcome MRO Hurdle

Challenge dice stock photo
Credit: Dzmitry/adobestock

What do the following have in common? CFM56-7B high-pressure turbine blade prices are high. Sometimes your favorite yogurt, arugula or snack at the grocery story is missing for a couple of weeks—­and then it magically reappears on the shelf. A car or furniture order can take months to receive. Apple will manufacture its new iPhone 14 in India.

You guessed it: supply chain problems. Whether it’s your professional or personal life, myriad supply chain and labor shortage issues present themselves frequently—to the point when a problem occurs, you can usually quip, “blame it on supply chain issues.”

Coupled with supply chain pains is another problem across many industries—labor shortages. The two intersect. For instance, pilot shortages are delaying engine overhauls. While this might not sound intuitive, if airlines don’t have enough pilots to fly an aircraft type, it can ground that aircraft. These nonflying aircraft with green-time engines become great candidates for engines swaps.

As the use of green-time engines extends beyond what was forecasted, this, in turn, affects parts availability.

During a recent earnings call, AAR President and CEO John Holmes said: “We continue to see broadening interest in used material, but the immediate demand for used parts continues to be impacted by the utilization of green time as well as the lack of material availability for certain high-­demand assets.”

For more insights into engine market challenges, read Sean Broderick’s and James Pozzi’s excellent cover story (see MRO 14).

Unlike Holmes’ observation about parked aircraft, Air India is having a different problem—it is having a hard time bringing them back due to the lack of available MRO slots and material shortages, Arun Kashyap, executive director of engineering, said at MRO Asia-Pacific. Two other supply chain issues, increased fuel and logistics prices, also have raised the price to $100,00 from $20,000 for Air India to transport an engine to an MRO shop.

While the cargo conversion market continues to be robust, it’s not isolated from market challenges. Mike Doellefeld, Boeing Global Services vice president of commercial freighter conversions and engineering services, says demand for Boeing’s converted freighters, the 737-800BCF and the 767BCF, is strong, but “we also know there are pressures in how we execute and how we plan” because of supply chain stability factors. The company is leveraging its global supply chain and MRO networks “to proactively mitigate, communicate and execute” to its plans, he says.

The communication piece is essential. This is a time for each person to make sure he or she is a good communicator, beause it’s hard to mitigate or execute without communicating well.

—Lee Ann Shay in Singapore

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.