Home' Asian Aviation : AAV June 2011 Contents 28 AsianAviation | JUNE 2011
Just as the aircra maintenance, repair and
overhaul (MRO) industry was starting
to recover from the economic downturn
that began in 2008, it now has to adapt to
changing customer needs as airlines face a
renewed surge in fuel prices.
Carriers -- more cost-conscious than ever as
they worry about economic volatility -- are reshaping
their business models to minimise operating costs.
On the maintenance side, that means they are
increasingly looking for MRO ser vice providers
that o er lower prices and faster turnaround times,
without compromising quality.
For many airlines 'Total Maintenance' programmes
have become a must when deciding on a ser vice
provider. At the same time, MRO companies face a
shortage of quali ed labour, as experienced engineers
and technicians are 'poached' by the top providers,
pushing up the overall cost of labour.
e outsourcing trend that has prompted some US
legacy carriers to place their scheduled maintenance
work in Asia is bringing new developments to
the market. e rapid growth of low-cost carriers
(LCCs) in South-East Asia, India, South Korea
and to a certain extent Australia is bringing new
opportunities for MRO service providers for single-
aisle aircra such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320
family, and turboprop airliners such as the ATR 42
In South-East Asia alone there are 15 LCCs in
operation, with another scheduled to start operations
in the Philippines later this year.
Shorter ight sectors and high aircra -utilisation
produce a need for more frequent maintenance,
benefitting independent MRO providers since
LCCs typically outsource their maintenance needs.
is is a prominent trend, contributing to the
growth and sustainability of the MRO market in
the Asia-Paci c region. LCCs need exibility and
long-term, xed-price agreements for engine and
component work under one roof. It is a bonus if
MRO companies can provide repairs locally while
the customer's aircra is on the ground between
Pricing and turnaround time are of paramount
importance for LCCs, as most of them do not
have spare aircra to take up the slack when one is
grounded for maintenance.
Kuala Lumpur-based LCC group AirAsia
harboured ambitious plans to have a fully- edged in-
house airframe heavy maintenance capability for its
airlines' Airbus A320 and A330 eets. e company
also harboured hopes of marketing its MRO services
to third parties worldwide.
An agreement was inked with Malaysian
businessman Syed Budriz to take an 81 percent stake
in the operation, with AirAsia taking 19 percent.
However, the plan crashed just as fast as it had been
conceived, a er it failed to get certi cation from the
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Singapore Technologies Engineering's ST
Aerospace unit carries out eet maintenance for
AirAsia's A320s, while Manila-based Lufthansa
Technik Philippines handles the carrier's A330
maintenance. ST Aerospace has also secured
contracts from Korean LCCs Jeju Air and T'way
Airlines, as well as China-based budget carrier Spring
According to a spokesman for Singapore Airlines'
maintenance unit SIA Engineering Co (SIAEC),
demand for MRO capacity has been increasing as
Global MRO providers
adapt to airline needs
Resurgent fuel prices have put a dampener on the recovery of the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul sector, but
service providers remain optimistic, writes William Dennis.
"We believe there will be [demand for] more C-check
maintenance or lower, rather than heavy maintenance." --
MASAE Managing Director Mohd Roslan Ismail
Air China has been considering
merging its in-house maintenance
operation with Ameco Beijing.
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