Repositioned AAR Rides Recovery Wave

As well as maintenance, AAR is also pushing its used and new parts distribution channels.

Credit: AAR

U.S. MRO provider AAR has reported a 28% increase in commercial sales for the three months to Feb. 28, as compared with the prior-year third quarter.

The company attributed this to general recovery in air travel, with chief executive John Holmes saying: “We are encouraged by the optimism we see from our airline customers regarding the recovery in air travel and this continues to drive demand for our services.”

Overall, the commercial aftermarket accounted for 65% of AAR’s total sales for the quarter, which increased 15% year on year to $521 million.

Comparing AAR’s overall performance with other MRO providers is tricky due to the company’s unusual reporting period.

However, its results seem broadly in line with other big MRO providers. For example, in 2022 Lufthansa Technik reported a 28% increase in third-party sales—the same as AAR’s commercial revenue rise in the recent quarter—while AFI KLM E&M reported a 36% rise in sales outside its parent airline group.

As well as maintenance, AAR is also pushing its used and new parts distribution channels, which analyst Melius Research said gives it downside protection through aircraft retirement cycles.

AAR will also further diversify its revenue stream following its purchase this week of MRO software provider Trax for $120 million.

“Given AAR’s position as a leading independent MRO provider and commercial aero parts distributor, we think there are significant revenue synergies as AAR can cross-sell Trax’s software to its existing customer base,” noted Melius.

The analyst also praised AAR for shedding unprofitable business lines and signing up OEMs to distribution agreements.  

It also noted that the company’s relatively low debt means that it could seek other bolt-on acquisitions to enhance its MRO business.

Alex Derber

Alex Derber, a UK-based aviation journalist, is editor of the Engine Yearbook and a contributor to Aviation Week and Inside MRO.