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MRO Focus - Americas | MRO Management

25 Apr 2022

With a maintenance technician shortfall looming large and recovery from the Covid crisis continuing, MRO Management magazine assesses the outlook for the MRO industry in the Americas.

The aerospace industry in the Americas is vast and varied, and features some of the world’s biggest hubs of companies and related organisations. These include the Boeing-influenced Washington state; Quebec in Canada (home to AJW Technique); Florida; Oklahoma; and Sao Paulo in Brazil, the home of Embraer. Within these hubs, and across the Americas, are a plethora of commercial aviation MRO companies varying in size and capabilities, but all playing an important role in the maintenance landscape.


The big aircraft and engine manufacturers such as Boeing, GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney naturally have a major influence on the MRO market, as do the likes of AAR, and companies such as Delta TechOps, StandardAero, STS Aviation Group, Ascent Aviation Services, Aviation Technical Services, AJW Technique and Avianor in North America. In Latin America, some of the biggest MROs are MRO Holdings/Aeroman and Mexicana. In addition to those companies headquartered in the region, global companies such as Lufthansa Technik, ST Engineering and HAECO also have subsidiaries and joint venture companies in the Americas.


Despite this breadth of capability and opportunity, one major long-term challenge faces the MRO industry in the Americas – a shortage of qualified maintenance technicians. Jason Holland from MRO Management magazine spoke to a few of the companies to assess the current MRO landscape in the region and how it has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.


With insight from AAR, AJW Group, STS Aviation Group, and StandardAero, read the full article on Aviation Business News and extracts of our contribution below.


Braced for recovery


Conrad Vandersluis, SVP strategic material & asset management, notes that the global aviation industry is “bracing itself for a decade of growth that we expect will test the industry’s resilience, not only from the pandemic and associated complications of travel restrictions and supply chain challenges, but also a reduced labour force too small to support the expected growth trajectory. Add in the industry challenge of meeting the COP26 climate change ambitions with no immediate alternative to fossil fuels that substantially cut emissions, and it will be a turbulent decade of growth for the industry.”


Vandersluis notes that the changes in fleet, predicted growth and the elevated number of aircraft retired that were due to enter a period of intensive MRO expense directly impacts the component maintenance market, in which Montreal, Canada-based AJW Technique specialises. “It is now forecast that by 2024, MRO demand should reach pre-pandemic levels but at varying rates round the world. For instance, in China the MRO demand has already surpassed pre-pandemic figures but Western Europe is not expected to see full recovery until 2025.”


MRO Focus - Americas | MRO Management

Differentiated offerings


Conrad Vandersluis says the last two years of sector turmoil “has changed the dynamic in the industry”, and is driving far closer strategic alliances between companies such as AJW Group and its airline, aircraft manufacturers, component OEM and MRO partners. “We managed a streamlined vendor supply chain of 60 primary repair workshops with 700 approved facilities and spend US$400 million annually on almost 100,000 repair orders,” he says. “Our prime objective is to deliver improved cost and reliability efficiencies for customers and strive for optimum efficiency and profitability whilst keeping our customers at the core of everything we do. That means working with partners that understand our business, exchange reciprocal work based on core competencies and collaborating to innovate and collectively expand. We forge great working relationships with our suppliers, viewing them as partners not competitors.”


AJW Group expanded its global MRO footprint last year with the opening of AJW Technique Europe, which operates as a centre of excellence for aircraft batteries and will expand into a series of other capabilities to complement the repair services offered at AJW Technique in Canada. In light of the accelerated replacement of ageing aircraft, the company is also focused on developing its technical capabilities for next-generation equipment, and this resulted in the company’s investment in a sole distributorship agreement with Honeywell for the Boeing 737 MAX ADIRU, the A320neo ADIRU and a suite of Boeing 787 components. “This has also allowed us to increasingly develop our in-house MRO capabilities at AJW Technique,” says Vandersluis. “The Honeywell product lines are current production aircraft types which are being delivered with significant backlog of deliveries going forward which will require the support that the AJW Group can offer.”


AJW Group expects to see MROs join forces and consolidate to right-size to customers reduced budget strategies, according to Vandersluis. “We also expect to see an increase in partnerships formed,” he says. “This month AJW Group was recognised as Honeywell’s ‘Global Channel Partner of the Year’, which recognises Honeywell’s most trusted partners. Honeywell Channel Partners are chosen for their unique market reach, commitment to growth, and strong track record of performance, integrity, and compliance and whose innovation and performance exemplify those of Honeywell and who consistently go above and beyond to support global airline and MRO customers.”


Read the full article here


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