The biannual, Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), took place earlier this month, bringing together industry players including airlines, maintenance, repair and overhaul providers (MROs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for a global networking opportunity.
For the first time, the FIA marketed to the MRO sector ahead of the event to gain further “participation and trade visitor presence from the supply chain” (typically only 20% of its participants are from the MRO sector).
And, the deals made over the five-day trade show event demonstrated that this marketing strategy was a success and also confirmed the sector’s commitment to investing in innovation and next-generation technologies for the benefit of tomorrow’s market.
A sizeable deal between Lufthansa Technik and Pratt & Whitney (PW) was penned, which will see the MRO, headquartered in Hamburg, become a key member of PW’s Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine MRO network, offering the full scope of MRO services on PW1100G-JM and PW1500G engines, while HAECO Americas was selected as preferred MRO partner for Mitsubishi’s MRJ in North America.
Additionally, StandardAero renewed its independent TRUEngine authorised MRO provider agreement for CF34 and CFM56 engines, “demonstrating an ongoing commitment to OEM quality engine maintenance”.
Indeed, before this year’s airshow there was an increased level of uncertainty with regards to how many big dollar deals would be made and who would be spending money due to Brexit and a highly competitive marketplace.
But, despite the deals at 2014’s event reaching a record-setting $201bn, the FIA said 2016 had still defied industry expectations with commitments of $129.9bn recorded.
According to the airshow, “Farnborough International’s internal order tracker recorded a total of 856 aircraft valued at $93.98 [billion], 1407 engines valued at US$22.7 billion and a variety of other business deals totalling £7.2 billion”.
So with the MRO market expected to be worth $1.8 trillion by 2035, experiencing 4.6% year on year growth, future airshows may well see an increase in big figure MRO contracts being awarded.
As expected the engine manufacturers also had a powerful presence at the airshow; CFM International won orders worth over $8bn, GE Aviation won contracts from many airlines for its TrueChoice offering and Rolls-Royce announced that it will extend its Trent Services Network in UAE.
And, major airframe OEM, Boeing, made its mark, not only in orders, but also with its 100th anniversary celebrations on July 15. The OEM won orders and commitments for 182 commercial aircraft, valued at $26.8bn, and Boeing chairman, president and CEO, Dennis Muilenburg commented that: “as the birthplace of British aviation, there are few better backdrops to celebrate the accomplishments and wonders of the aerospace industry and mark our centennial than the Farnborough Airshow.”
“Throughout the show, we demonstrated and discussed our innovative and cost effective products and services and the tremendous value they provide our commercial and defense customers.
“The British government announced significant orders for Boeing defense equipment. At the same time, we committed to doubling Boeing presence in the UK in line with the government’s Prosperity agenda and our global growth strategy for our second century”.
While Boeing’s rival competitor, Airbus, won $35 billion worth of business for a total of 279 aircraft and further showcased its commitment to innovation by demonstrating how a drone can be used to carry out aircraft inspections.
The drone featuring a high definition camera was able to carry out an inspection of the upper part of an aircraft at FIA, flown using an automatic flight control system that was supervised by a pilot.
Following a predetermined flight path, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) took a series of pictures, which were later used to generate a 3D digital model that was recorded in a database for analysis.
Airbus said: “This data helps improve traceability, prevention and reduction of damage”, explaining that the benefits of this innovative tool and process are “significant” because it reduces inspection time to only 10 to 15 minutes, compared to the two hours spent using conventional methods.
As a result, operators no longer need to go up on a telescopic handler to perform the visual inspection, sometimes in poor weather conditions. In addition, picture analysis can be done anytime afterwards and in an office, said the OEM.
Airbus’ head of quality, Nathalie Ducombeau, stated: “The use of this new technology offers better working conditions including improving the safety and comfort for the quality inspectors”.
Both the deals struck and the demonstrations using advanced technologies at FIA, further demonstrated the industry’s commitment to developing and investing in innovation.
Going forward, many airlines will now welcome next-generation aircraft into their fleets and, as a result, they will rely on the advanced services of aftermarket specialists and MRO providers.
And, following these hefty investments, companies will continue to look for ways to reduce costs and manage the data that comes hand in hand with new innovations.
Certainly, as new technologies like drones enter maintenance hangars and manufacturers offer more data with their products, there is a new wealth of information available and utilising this effectively can prove highly beneficial to a company’s purse strings.
This is where solutions like Rusada’s MRO platform, ‘Envision’, can help airlines and MROs better manage their operations, by providing a clear overview of their product portfolios and internal processes.
Indeed, Envision can be an important ally to any aviation organisation to help manage the new found data, allowing them to log and analyse it and consequently reduce overheads.
Everything from information on upcoming shop visits, including available capacity and staff on shift, to storing images taken during inspections can be logged and shared within the easy to use platform.
What’s more, Rusada will be launching a next-generation version of Envision later this year, in order to meet the evolving needs of the industry.
To find out more about how Envision can help your business going forward, visit our previous blog posts listed below.
You can also get in touch with Rusada below.