Commercial Spending Will Lead MRO Field In 2018

Comparing civil, helicopter, business aviation and military MRO forecasts for 2018

Jan 2, 2018

 Aviation Week & Space Technology

All indications suggest that 2018 could be a pretty good year for the aviation industry. New business aviation aircraft will enter service in 2018 as this market segment sees an uptick. The International Air Transport Association expects airlines to post record numbers of passengers and revenues in 2018. The rotorcraft market could stabilize and start to see a shift to lighter-weight helicopters. And expect the military market around the world to remain strong, fueled by fears of a nuclear-armed North Korea, instability in the Middle East and conflicts elsewhere.

These markets are vastly different, but the suppliers and aftermarket companies that service them overlap. For this reason, let’s compare the market segments.

For starters, the commercial fleet growth rate (3.1% compound annual growth) far exceeds that of the three others.

The commercial aviation industry will generate the most MRO spending—about $88 billion—in 2018 because it will account for about nine times as many flight hours as any of the other segments. Even so, military aircraft should produce $79.6 billion in MRO expenditures during the same period despite many fewer flight hours, according to Aviation Week Network forecasts. Field maintenance accounts for about 46.4% of the total military maintenance demand.

While the business aviation and civil helicopter fleets are of similar size—with a difference of about 1,700 between them—the value of new aircraft production forecast for 2018 is about five times higher for business aircraft, an indication of the big difference in cost per aircraft and fewer helicopter deliveries. The average retail cost of fixed-wing turboprop- and jet-powered business aircraft is $21.3 million, while the average cost of turbine-powered helicopters is $5.9 million, according to Aviation Week Network fleet and forecast data.   

Expect aircraft manufacturers to deliver about 2,100 aircraft—two-thirds of which will be narrowbodies—in 2018, according to Aviation Week Network’s Fleet & MRO Forecast. 


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