In a recent Avi8ion blog, we offered various views on Airbus and Boeing demand projections for aircraft maintenance technicians. Unsurprisingly, increasingly robust demand for Airbus A-320NEO and Boeing 737-Max aircraft could drive some labor demand changes. With incredible fuel efficiency, improving systems reliability and data-driven maintenance programs this aircraft family continues to alter aviation’s landscape.
Airbus Is Rapidly Narrowing the Airframe Gap with Impending Leadership
An Inside MRO by Alex Derber titled “How The A320 Overtook The 737, And MRO Implications” provides some interesting insights. Mr. Derber shows that though 737s outnumber A-320s this is largely due to legacy 737s still in operation. The article states that through 2022, Airbus is expected to deliver 3,174 A320neos compared with 2,999 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
What Is the Airbus and Boeing Impact on Technician Demand?
With exploding middle classes in China and India, these two aircraft families will impact technician demand well into the future. While NEO and MAX mid-life cycles remain a few years away, maintenance efficiencies should slightly reduce technician demand. In an article for MRO-Network.com, Mr. Derber cites Boeing’s view that these efficiencies will reduce Asian technician needs by 5%. Interestingly, two years ago Boeing forecast Asia will need 268,000 technicians over the next 20 years. Recently, however, Boeing modified estimated technician needs in this region to 242,000. Boeing cites “advances in product development” for the change and we expect Airbus to modify estimates similarly. Importantly, Derber reminds us that maintenance needs in absolute terms will continue to grow due to the overall fleet size.
Avi8ion’s recent blogs clearly detail burgeoning Asian middle classes driving airline demand. While Mr. Derber’s articles may provide some incremental tempering of previous curves, overall growth forecasts remain unprecedented. With healthy orders, robust banking and leasing segments and a stable geo-political environment, it remains “full steam ahead” for deliveries. Optimizing these highly valuable capital assets (airliners) for the long term will remain the key to maximizing return on capital.