The MRO market is projected to be worth $49.5 billion in 2012, according to TeamSAI, and cabin upgrades in particular are a sweet spot. In this month’s Overhaul & Maintenance (pick up a copy at MRO Americas), we take a look at the challenges and risks that are confronting players in the MRO market. Here’s an extract from the full article by Lee Ann Tegtmeier:
For aircraft in operation now, cabin refurbishment—especially premium cabin upgrades—continues to be an MRO bright spot. “Everyone in the international market has continued to upgrade their first- and business-class products to remain competitive,” says Tom Cooper, TeamSAI senior vice president and principal. This trend carries over to many national carriers’ premium accommodations, too. “There’s no reason to think that’s going to slow down,” he adds.
The slight downside is that lead times for seats are still long. “Every airline wants to customize the seat to some degree because it’s the primary lever they have to differentiate their international premium product,” says Cooper, noting that this requires custom development, time, expense and certification. Marcontell says a highly experienced seat manufacturer can deliver in 12-18 months, but he adds that he has known several to give up due to the lack of technology or certification skills to meet the required functionality and weight limitations.
While inflight entertainment technology and electronics change rapidly, “it is somewhat of a closed loop to get into,” says Doan. “We’re seeing the sophistication get to the point that it becomes difficult for independents to afford the technology to even handle them,” he adds.
Besides avionics and electronics, Doan points to landing gear, wheels and brakes “as fairly good markets to get into.”