For much of the last 24 months, the market for pre-owned aircraft has boomed. That’s great news for aircraft sellers, but that’s had a trickle-down effect for aircraft owners down the line for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.
Add in more aircraft flying more hours to a system already facing supply chain and skilled maintenance technician challenges, it’s not a surprise that an owner or flight department looking for MRO work is finding there’s going to be a wait, AvBuyer reports.
Owners looking to install Aviation Partners’ Blended Winglets should plan now to get their priority spot in 2023 or possibly 2024. Allowing time now to schedule soon will avoid holdups later when it comes to potential sales or just to enjoy the performance benefit of winglets.
Why MROs are Full
Private aviation has been experiencing a boom for the past three years. More deliveries, more flights and more first-time flyers. All of that adds up to more demand for a variety of MRO services. Regular maintenance timetables come up more quickly with greater usage, too, with more hours on engines and other components.
Business jet manufacturers are anticipating more deliveries this year and owners are predicted to be using their aircraft at least as much, if not more, than 2022 levels. MRO providers in the United States are also seeing an uptick in service requests from overseas.
With more aircraft selling over the past two years than normal, there’s a greater backlog for pre-buy inspections and services. That’s particularly impactful for sellers looking to maximize their resale value by installing winglets. If you’re planning on selling or upgrading your aircraft in the next year or two, you should plan now to ensure an MRO slot will be available to meet your desired timetable.
While it doesn’t receive the same attention by non-aviation media, the industry is feeling the same crunch for experienced maintenance technicians that airlines are facing with the pilot shortage. Even as more are trained to enter the workforce, there will be some lag before that group of skilled workers are able to meet private and commercial aviation’s demands. It’s a challenge that faces the entire industry – not just one MRO or manufacturer.
Additionally, many MRO facilities are facing a hangar-space shortage to meet near-term demand. While many are expanding current facilities or building entirely new ones, the need for more space, like the need for more technicians, is acute and immediate. It will take some time for the expanded facilities to be completely operational, easing the MRO service pipeline bottleneck.
How to Plan for Upgrades
Making careful plans now will save some headaches in the future. Examine all of the maintenance needs for your aircraft holistically. Trying to get multiple spots in the MRO queue might be difficult over the next six months. Are there other upgrades or routine maintenance events that can be combined with winglet installations?
Since shop space is at a premium, look to combine other projects with winglet installations that will save money and maximize productivity. Consider interior refurbishments, modifications or connectivity upgrades at the same time. Your aircraft has its most value when it’s ready for use. No need to double up on downtime if it can be avoided.
Choose an experienced shop for MRO work. If you are in the process of searching for, or acquiring, an airplane talk to your broker about finding the right MRO and their capabilities for installing winglets. Their expertise will save time in the long run by making sure everything is exactly as it needs to be for your aircraft.
Careful planning also makes it easier to keep your spot for scheduled maintenance. Look at potential activity or need for supplemental lift for the next six to 12 months now and work the MRO schedule around that. If you need to alter your plans in a few months, that could add more downtime later as you’re reentering the MRO queue.
Getting winglets installed will enhance operational efficiency, reduce emissions, and increase resale value over the course of your ownership. Your aircraft will have greater performance whenever you’re able to upgrade. But a thoughtful approach to scheduling will minimize the time needed to start enjoying those benefits.
For a complete list of our U.S. and international authorized installation facilities, and to secure your Winglet delivery position, visit www.aviationpartners.com/contact/.