During the MRO Europe exhibition held in Amsterdam in October, Cavok (Oliver Wyman) presented its own forecasts for the changes to come in the worldwide fleet and maintenance market over the next ten years. These forecasts are equivalent to those of the ICF institute, although are slightly less optimistic, and estimate that both the fleet and the MRO market value could rise by 50% by 2028.
In relation to developments between 2017 and 2018, Cavok's consultant David Stewart indicates that 3600 aircraft changed status over the period, generating a net increase in the fleet of 940 aircraft. "The growth in traffic is defying the laws of gravity despite the new increase in fuel prices". In more detail, 1337 aircraft were taken out of service (including 1185 for storage and 113 definitively), while 2276 were brought in service (including 1629 new aircraft and 608 taken out of storage).
This dynamic in the worldwide fleet is generating an MRO market worth 77.4 billion dollars this year. The trend is not changing and engines remain the highest source of income (with a market worth 32.7 billion dollars).
The fleet should reach nearly 38 000 aircraft within ten years, thanks to average annual growth estimated at 3.7% and driven by medium-haul traffic. Applying this growth to MRO shows that the market, driven by expensive engine workshop inspections and new technologies, will grow even more quickly, at a rate of 4.5% per year, to reach a value of 114.7 billion dollars. Of course, there are uncertainties weighing on the sector, such as volatile fuel prices and interest rates, and David Stewart also fears the effects that American protectionism might have, in particular in relation to China, which could cause the loss of the equivalent of several years of growth.
One other difficulty remains in the sector, staffing. Tensions persist for technicians, caused by retirements and the low number of candidates, although this is causing salaries to rise. At the moment, the highest salaries are to be found in Western Europe, far outstripping the other regions around the world. Various strategies are being combined to combat this: the use of robots, digitisation, productivity improvement measures or the establishment of in-house training programmes. Operators are also counting on sub-contracting to reduce their costs.
Finally, the growing presence of OEM in the services market remains a source of concern for MROs whether are independent or subsidiaries of operators. They all feel that their presence will continue to grow and most think that they are able to achieve their objectives, in particular thanks to the restrictions imposed on licences.