MRO industry in ‘rude health’ but two big threats loom

David Stewart, Oliver Wyman, tells FINN about the MRO market, including the threats, opportunities and his forecast.

Stewart said: “We're actually in reasonably good health, almost rude health. The fleet has been growing year on year – by a good four/five per cent  for many years.

"We're in a ‘super cycle’. Typically on aircraft deliveries, the cycle is seven/eight years long, and now we're in a thirteen-year supercycle.”

He added: “So the airlines are making money, and therefore that flows down to the supply chain, including MROs. Our numbers show a fleet growth over the next ten years of around about three per cent per annum. It’s going to grow to somewhere around 35,000/36,000 planes in the next ten years. And the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) market, which is $77 billion today will rise to over $100 billion in 10 years’ time, growing at a slightly higher rate of four per cent.” 

Tech trends

Each year, Oliver Wyman runs a survey about what's worrying the supply chain most. Respondents include OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), MROs and distributors.

Stewart commented: “The number-one thing that they're talking about today is the OEMs. The OEMs are taking a much more active role in the aftermarket. That's been the case for the engine market for a long time. GE, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney make most of their profits and margins in the aftermarket.

“The component OEMs have woken up to that a few years ago, and now the airframers like Airbus and Boeing, who've both announced significant strategies to say they're going to grow their services strategy. Those announcements mean they're going to be growing well above market rates, and they're going to grab share from somebody. somehow. Boeing has a goal of $50 billion by 2025. For Airbus, it's $10 billion by 2025.

Cybersecurity 

Another emerging trend, Stewart said, is cybersecurity.

He explained: “We know that these hackers are becoming more commonplace and the damage they can do is significant. There's a lack of preparation in cybersecurity across the industry.”

Oliver Wyman’s research found that just nine per cent of MRO providers, half of OEMs and 41 per cent of airlines have established security standards for third-party vendors, and under half of the respondents had completed a cybersecurity threat assessment.

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