March-April_2022 - 36

Kevin Mawhinney
How healthy is the MRO ecosystem?
Mawhinney: A backlog of work would usually be a
good problem for MRO shops to have. However, for
those short on mechanics due to the pandemic, retirements,
or the lack of new mechanics coming into the
industry, it's becoming a juggling act to keep the work
on schedule. This problem isn't going away anytime
soon, particularly as the maintenance workforce is
getting older. Without an immediate intervention,
we are heading toward a critical mass.
Another piece of the puzzle for MROs is inventory
management. Not just the capital required to have
parts on the shelf but buying the right parts. The
overall cost of parts has also increased and shops
are forced to pass this on to the client, which can be
tough to explain when it exceeds the original budget.
What used to be a closed ecosystem between an
Ty Corley
MRO and the OEM has expanded to include thirdparty
options to support maintenance operations.
This encompasses not only securing parts but utilizing
outside maintenance sources to assist with
specialized work. Many of the MROs that hold specialized
training and capabilities are traveling to
clients to perform these services.
Corley: Across Europe the MRO ecosystem is
healthy, despite more supply chain pressures than
normal due to the pandemic and Brexit increasing
workloads and prices of parts and services. However,
due to the ongoing impact of COVID restrictions and
the fallout from Brexit, there is a shortage of qualified
engineers, and UK licensed engineers are currently
not being authorized by EASA to work on EASA
registered aircraft, despite the UK allowing EASA
licensed engineers to work on UK registered aircraft.
Thankfully, as COVID isolation rules are eased in the
UK, we are seeing staff being able to return to work
quicker, which is reducing the pressure.
What lessons have been
learned from 2021?
Mawhinney: The main lesson learned from 2021 is the
need for flexibility. The past two years have required us
all to continually make new plans based on the changing
environment. The supply chain has been stretched
thin, and as a result, it's not simply a case of shipping
an aircraft part across the world anymore. MROs have
become used to having to deal with an engine seal
stuck with a courier company due to weather, COVID
or other delays. Historically, a priority delivery would
arrive first thing in the morning to make a flight that
day but that's no longer a guarantee.
Corley: For me, the main lesson learned is how
resilient the helicopter market is, particularly
compared to commercial fixed-wing operations. This
is largely due to the many ways in which helicopters
can be used. EMS helicopters and parapublic activity
were both relatively unaffected during the main part
of the pandemic. Also, the VIP charter side of the
market saw a resurgence of utilization during 2021;
this can partly be attributed to the return of popular
public events in the UK, such as Royal Ascot and the
Grand Prix at Silverstone, which are both significant
events for the helicopter industry.
What trends or pitfalls should
operators look out for in 2022?
Mawhinney: This year, I'd expect to see an
increased use of aircraft maintenance data. We've
come to a point in the industry where instead of
operating on tribal knowledge and overnight delivery,
we have an opportunity to tap into years of
historical information. A helicopter operator or an
MRO can schedule and forecast inventory requirements
and upcoming scheduled maintenance
events based on facts and not educated guesses.
We've made the jump from paper format technical
manuals to online versions and from whiteboards
to computerized maintenance tracking systems.
So, it's not a huge leap to integrate this information
into something we can use.
The other trend I can see is the use of drones for
some historically helicopter-dependent operations.
While I don't think this is going to happen in the next
couple of years, it's something we need to be aware of.
Corley: I expect there to be longer lead times on
new helicopter orders due to increased demand. This
may be offset by bringing more aircraft out of storage
to support the offshore market. There will likely also
be additional growth in the EMS, search and rescue,
offshore renewables and VIP markets, with the
AW109, 169 and H145 D3 proving popular. Although
shortages of qualified staff may affect growth initially
here in the UK, there is the potential for staffing to be
rectified in the longer-term, as companies begin to
invest in training younger people by way of apprentice
schemes and licensing.
Also, as MROs look to navigate the challenges of
Brexit transition issues and inflationary pressures, I
concur with Kevin that the use of maintenance data
will become much more commonplace, with MROs
streamlining activities by investing in maintenance
tracking software such as Traxxall and SierraTrax.
There are plenty of challenges and opportunities
facing MROs as the post-pandemic landscape
is navigated. However, with the popularity of helicopter
usage on the rise, the only way is up.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March-April_2022

Industry Inspection
Aircraft Cabin Lighting Technology and Trends
How Events Like the AMC Can Help Attract the Next Generation of Female Technicians
The Pivotal Work of Preventative Maintenance
Few Pandemic Problems for Paint
Exploring the Helicopter Market Landscape and MRO Ecosystem
EAGLE Stakeholders Seek Solution to Leaded Fuel
Human Factors Interventions that Keep on Giving
FEAM Aero's Growth Mindset
Modular Maintenance Stands for All Aircraft Types
Advertiser’s Index
March-April_2022 - 1
March-April_2022 - 2
March-April_2022 - 3
March-April_2022 - EDITOR’S TAKEOFF
March-April_2022 - 5
March-April_2022 - 6
March-April_2022 - 7
March-April_2022 - Industry Inspection
March-April_2022 - 9
March-April_2022 - 10
March-April_2022 - 11
March-April_2022 - Aircraft Cabin Lighting Technology and Trends
March-April_2022 - 13
March-April_2022 - How Events Like the AMC Can Help Attract the Next Generation of Female Technicians
March-April_2022 - 15
March-April_2022 - 16
March-April_2022 - 17
March-April_2022 - 18
March-April_2022 - 19
March-April_2022 - The Pivotal Work of Preventative Maintenance
March-April_2022 - 21
March-April_2022 - 22
March-April_2022 - 23
March-April_2022 - 24
March-April_2022 - 25
March-April_2022 - 26
March-April_2022 - 27
March-April_2022 - Few Pandemic Problems for Paint
March-April_2022 - 29
March-April_2022 - 30
March-April_2022 - 31
March-April_2022 - 32
March-April_2022 - 33
March-April_2022 - Exploring the Helicopter Market Landscape and MRO Ecosystem
March-April_2022 - 35
March-April_2022 - 36
March-April_2022 - EAGLE Stakeholders Seek Solution to Leaded Fuel
March-April_2022 - FOR THE RECORD
March-April_2022 - Human Factors Interventions that Keep on Giving
March-April_2022 - 40
March-April_2022 - 41
March-April_2022 - FEAM Aero's Growth Mindset
March-April_2022 - 43
March-April_2022 - 44
March-April_2022 - 45
March-April_2022 - ARSA INSIGHT
March-April_2022 - Modular Maintenance Stands for All Aircraft Types
March-April_2022 - 48
March-April_2022 - 49
March-April_2022 - Advertiser’s Index
March-April_2022 - 51
March-April_2022 - 52