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Is the Asian-Pacific region ready to win the MRO race?

2012-01-27

This year the Asian-Pacific region based aircraft fleet is expected to expand even further with 650 new aircraft to be added to the already impressive existing fleet. According to Ascend, among the 31 leading airlines (based on wide body aircraft deliveries) 13 are registered in Asia, 10 – in Europe, 5 – in the Middle East/Africa and only 3 – in North America. 7 out of the 10 largest carriers (according to the same criterion) are based in the Asian-Pacific region. The rapidly expanding fleets in the region generate a significant growth in the aircraft engines’ market. It also highlights the need to improve the infrastructure of airports and MRO centres as well as enlist a large number of highly skilled and experienced engineers and technicians. FL Technics Training experts maintain that with all these aspects sorted out the Asian-Pacific region shall become the world’s leading MRO hub.

The rapid development of aviation business in the Asian-Pacific region is also accelerated by another critical factor – almost twice less expensive labour within the region makes aircraft technical maintenance considerably cheaper than in Europe or the USA. In the meantime, the global MRO market that mainly consists of engines and components’ sectors is currently valued at USD 50 billion. By 2020 the Asian-Pacific aviation industry alone is expected to generate 27% of the entire MRO market turnover (China alone – USD 3.3 billion). However, as in all emerging markets, the growth in the region is largely dependent on cooperation with foreign MRO partners and suppliers.

“With regards to its constantly increasing demand for aviation services and the region’s receptivity to innovations, the question to be asked is not whether but when the Asian-Pacific region, with its large base of potential clients and cheap labour costs, will finally win the MRO race. The Western market is already congested therefore the aviation industry directs its attention to India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Unfortunately, the speed of the MRO race can be suspended by large taxes, institutions failing to control new market players (mainly due to a huge number of aviation services on offer), poorly developed infrastructure of airports, lack of aircraft technical maintenance facilities and shortage of highly qualified aviation personnel. The economic growth and technical processes involved will generate the demand for over 250 thousand new technicians and engineers in the region,” explained the Deputy Head of FL Technics Training Dainius Sakalauskas.

According to D.Sakalauskas, becoming the leading MRO hub requires a lot more than placing the most orders for new aircraft. In order to overtake and surpass the competition in Europe and the USA, the region needs to invest in raising the quality of aircraft technical support, engines and components’ maintenance services as well as ensure a consistent supply of highly qualified aircraft technical maintenance personnel. Without adequately trained and qualified personnel able to locate and eliminate all aircraft faults quickly, continuous aviation development is simply impossible. However, in order to ensure that technical personnel have a full portfolio of services and all the relevant Western technical know-how, regional airlines, aviation institutions and aircraft technical maintenance centres must cooperate not only amongst themselves but also with Western providers.

“Airlines happening to be on the ‘black list’ announced in the end of last year should place even more efforts to improve the existing aviation system. It involves sorting out the existing legal regulations and institutions, modernizing certification procedures and reforming the control of airlines. Another key factor is to ensure proper aviation specialists’ training. That can only be done by joint efforts of all involved and productive collaboration with specialized aviation training centres such as FL Technics Training, offering affordable high quality training and consulting services,” said D.Sakalauskas.

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