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Airbus forecasts commercial aircraft services market

Annual market recovery will lead to high demand for highly skilled labor in aviation services. 

Aviation Week recognizes composite leaders in MRO distinguished by performance, innovation and service.  

Airbus (Toulouse, France) expects the services market to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 and to double in value over the next 20 years — from $95 billion today to more than $230 billion in 2041, according to its latest Global Services Forecast (GSF) (additional information and infographics found here). As a result, the number of people working in aviation services, keeping the world’s fleets flying on a daily basis, is set to increase by a further two million.

“Every day millions of people in services, hidden champions behind the scenes, keep our global fleet of aircraft flying. Alone, the number of pilots, cabin crews and maintenance specialists is set to grow by a further two million by 2041,” Philippe Mhun, Airbus EVP Programmes and Services says. “Accelerated digitalization of operations and maintenance as well as a higher proportion of latest generation aircraft in service will lead to a massive requirement for new skills and job creation, leveraging new tools and ways of working in order to further increase our sector’s efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and emissions.” 

Airbus says a compounded annual growth rate of 3.7%, will lead to a doubling in the value of the services market in the next two decades with a bigger-than-ever demand for highly skilled labor: 585,000 new pilots, 640,000 new technicians and 875,000 new cabin crews. 

As operators focus more on their core business, services to improve aircraft availability and efficiency will increasingly be outsourced, boosting the market for those providers. These services will be driven by sustainability and enabled by digitalization, connectivity and innovation, to maximize efficiency in support of CO2 net-zero ambitions.

“The GSF confirms our strategy and we are ready,” Mhun continues. “Customer experience is our priority. Customer value will be underpinned by excellence in sustainable services and new energy transition, fully leveraging our Airbus Skywise digital capabilities. Aviation services will remain one of the most advanced and international industries, keeping our customers and society at large at the heart of our operations.”

Such aviation services are being recognized by Aviation Week Network’s MRO Asia-Pacific Awards 2022, celebrating individuals and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding performance, innovation and service in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). Winning companies include composite infusion specialists

(ST Engineering, Singapore), which acquired composites specialist Middle River Aerostructure Systems (MRAS, Baltimore, Md., U.S.) in 2019. 

Quickstep, a global provider of advanced composite solutions to the aerospace, defense, commercial, government and other advanced manufacturing sectors won the Best Newcomer Award at the annual MRO-Asia Pacific Awards. Quickstep is reported to be the largest independent aerospace-grade composites manufacturer in Australia, partnering with aerospace and defense organizations including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Boeing and Marand Precision Engineering.

ST Engineering won the Innovation of the Year Award in recognition of its unmanned aerial solutions, part of an end-to-end platform that combines drone robotics, networking, video analytics and data sharing. ST Engineering is a global technology, defense and engineering group that offers a wide range of products and services for smart cities, security, marine, aerospace and more. Its more than 45 years of experience in aerospace includes design and engineering, OEM and MRO services. It is reportedly the world’s largest airframe MRO provider with capacity to work on up to 45 widebody, 26 narrowbody and 24 general aviation aircraft at any given time. As an OEM, it offers engine nacelles, components and composite panels.

ST Engineering acquired MRAS, an OEM for engine nacelles, thrust reversers, components and specialized aerostructures using composites and/or metal bonding in 2019. The facility is also rapidly expanding its MRO capabilities.

ST Engineering also excels in composite panels via its joint venture with Airbus, Elbe Flugzeugwerke, which offers more than 25 years of experience in developing, designing and manufacturing lightweight composites. It is the primary Tier 1 supplier of composite passenger and cargo floor panels for the entire Airbus family of aircraft, used in structures as well as cabin interiors and cargo compartments.

Bombardier Aerospace Services is the Singapore-based MRO subsidiary of Bombardier Aircraft, manufacturer of the Global and Challenger series of business jets. Its C-Series aircraft — acquired by Airbus and is now manufactured as the A220 — features a resin-infused wing (albeit cured in an autoclave) made with a process developed by its Belfast, Northern Ireland facility, now owned by Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan., U.S.). Bombardier Aerospace Services has carried forward this leadership and, recognized with the Sustainability Initiative of the Year award 2022 for achievements including its facilities being Singapore Greenmark GOLD and USGBC LEED Silver certified as well as its promotion and implementation of electric vehicles in its operations and sustainable aviation fuels among its maintenance and ground handling customers.

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