Survey Finds New Barriers to MRO Growth

 - April 25, 2022, 11:25 AM

While spending in the aircraft MRO sector will approach pre-Covid-19 levels in 2023, the industry faces some tough obstacles in the coming years, according to Oliver Wyman’s annual MRO survey, The Quest for Stability, released today. According to the survey, the industry’s spending will reach nearly $80 billion next year though growth could be stifled over the next decade by inflation, labor shortages, and sustainability.

“The MRO industry has displayed remarkable resilience during the past two years, but it may not be enough as it faces a new set of challenges,” said Brian Prentice, partner at Oliver Wyman. Eighty percent of North American respondents said finding aviation maintenance technicians has become challenging, while 65 percent of respondents in Europe and 79 percent in other geographies report similar issues. Further, more than half said lack of labor is already constraining growth.

Another major barrier to growth will be inflation driven in part by a 5 percent increase in materials costs anticipated by 60 percent of respondents. Fifty-nine percent of North American respondents also expect a similar or higher increase in labor costs. Finally, while 90 percent of respondents cited sustainability as a priority for MRO-related activities, it will become a required cost of doing business and not a differentiator. Sustainability is also affecting talent recruitment and retention.

“At a time when the concept of how and where people work has radically changed, MRO leaders need to engage and attract a new generation of workers who value quality of life and are very concerned about climate change,” Prentice said. “It will be a tough sell.”

Strategies to overcome these challenges could include having a clear outlook on future labor plans; finding creative ways to attract and retain talent; mitigating cost increases; increasing labor efficiency; and meeting customer and investor sustainability demands, the report concluded.