With half of the year 2017 almost gone, experts in the private jet MRO industry tend to look back at the trends that developed through the year. This year, new generation aircraft as well as cabin modifications are the ‘hot topics’, both of which are pushing MROs to change service scope and variety.
Changing fleet composition is among the key future game-changers for business aircraft MROs. Over the next 10 years, the global fleet of new generation aircraft will grow by at least 500%. These new machines coming into the market were designed to require less maintenance less frequently, therefore, uncertainty concerning MRO demand is ambiguous. On the other hand, new technology also includes features that can be exploited to impose the positive change.
“New generation aircraft generate up to 10 times more parameters, as well as transmittable and downloadable aircraft-related data. The amount in fact has increased from 20TB to 120TB over the years. As an example, increased capacity enables MROs like us to introduce the so-called Aircraft Health Management System. It helps to accelerate advanced diagnosis, all aircraft systems prognostics as well as structural health monitoring. In the long-run, these technology-focused investments translate into long-term cost savings. For us, it is on average 50% fewer routine airframe heavy maintenance man-hours,” comments Darius Saluga, CEO of Jet Maintenance Solutions.
The technologies like Health Management Systems (HMS) help organizations to integrate several solutions and mitigate the future risks. By implementing these, MROs are increasing promptness regarding customer support and effectiveness of troubleshooting. Customers also receive added value by monitoring aircraft conditions, MROs are able to take action before the component fails. This, in turn, improves aircraft reliability and dramatically reduces the AOG and repair costs. Nevertheless, the main challenge is how to utilize and share the value from the huge amount of data generated by new technology aircraft.
Changing technical capabilities demand higher professional and renewed skills package from engineers and planning staff. With Boeing predicting over 600 000 technicians to be in demand over the following 20 years, the new technology deepens the challenge of finding qualified maintenance engineers that can act quickly and effectively. Consequently, technologies like HMS alternatively help to solve the deficiency problem – they boost productivity of engineers and assist in transferring the knowledge to locations where professionals’ physical presence is absent.
“Our engineers are already enabled to remotely access central storage of aircraft health monitoring and flight operations data. We are now able to exchange data from interconnected fleet and interact between integrated management centers as well as Jet MS line and base maintenance operations managers,” explains Darius Saluga.
Another too obvious to ignore current trend is the need for modifications. This is driven by passengers demand for fast and reliable cabin connectivity, personalized entertainment systems, hands-free commands, cabin micro environments, cabin air quality, medical care, self-cleaning and anti-bacteria material.
“Clients search for originality and for us this means increased demand for modifications in the cabin design for premium service quality. Most desirable current modifications include Wi-Fi, on-board connectivity and soon-to-be-released technological tools like ADS-B Mod program, for example. To meet these demands we, as any MRO, have to constantly look for innovations and apply them instantly to remain competitive in the market,” adds Darius Saluga.
Finally, increasing number of OEMs is expected to further enlarge its share in the aftermarket of business jet MROs in the remaining 2017. This consequently will squeeze the market share of independent private charter MROs. The only way for MROs to remain competitive is to further increase the service quality and pace. Implementing automated inspection tools, gathering data or innovating in modifications will be among the key tools that will assist companies to combat future challenges of the market.