Every mechanism created by humans requires some form of ongoing maintenance and surveillance to make sure it performs as intended for sustained periods. Aircraft are no different. As a matter of fact, since airplanes operate in harsh environments, they require high-quality maintenance from trained individuals.
The first aviators, both commercial and private, had to be their own maintainers. When the aircraft evolved from an innovative experiment into a commercialized system for the transportation of people and cargo, maintaining these machines became harder.
For over seven decades, professional cadres of individuals have shouldered the responsibility of reviewing, repairing, and maintaining commercial and private airplanes. The professionals have been able to demonstrate their aircraft repair and maintenance abilities and meet strict quality standards set by the government authorities.
More importantly, these aircraft maintenance experts have been able to put in place systems that facilitate the continuous inspection and repair of complicated airplane components. However, many such providers (formally known as Aircraft MROs – Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul experts) are facing threats of existential proportion in the 21st century.
The Challenges of Finding High-Quality Aviation Maintenance Experts
The leading MROs across the globe have been dealing with a complex dilemma for quite a while now –
Top aviation maintenance experts have to provide inspections and maintenance services for fleets of “older generation” aircraft.
They also have to inspect and maintain an ever-growing fleet of “Next-Gen” aircraft that feature brand-new materials, designs, and manufacturing techniques.
That’s why finding specialized aviation maintenance experts who can comprehensively cover this ever-widening spectrum of disciplines is hard for airplane companies. But, there are some aircraft maintenance and engineering service providers who’ve been able to address this dilemma through sheer innovation and experience.
These MRO experts provide services and qualities that are extremely sought-after in the aviation industry. Here are five essential qualities top MRO experts provide that make them stand out from the competition –
1. In-House Repairs, Maintenance, and Overhauls
The leading aircraft MRO companies not only offer FAA-approved proprietary repairs for both fixed and rotor-wing fleets, but they also provide these services in-house! Send damaged parts to their facilities and have them restored to their original form (much cheaper than buying new parts/components).
These in-house maintenance centers are equipped with tools that allow the repair technicians to carry out complex procedures like avionics upgrades or helicopter repairs. More importantly, these maintenance centers allow airplane companies to regularly fulfill their maintenance management requirements (for example, the obligatory five-year checks) in the most convenient way possible.
The top aircraft MRO companies even have direct access to active runways, which make them ideal “one-stop” aircraft maintenance shops. Be it the installation of mission-specific equipment or STC installations (Supplemental Type Certificates) – these large-fleet maintenance centers make in-house aviation repairs, maintenance, and overhauls much easier.
2. Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)
Non-Destructive Testing is a testing technique used by aviation repair experts. With this technique, the repair experts can evaluate the properties of aircraft systems for defects or inconsistencies without causing any damages to the system or the system parts. The best aircraft MRO companies hire repair experts who have all the necessary accreditations for conducting advanced NDT procedures.
Repair technicians need specialized training courses and industry certifications to carry out advanced NDT techniques such as Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection (FPI) or Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI).
There’s also the added pressure of following compliance requirements for repair technicians to be deemed “qualified” enough to conduct NDT procedures. That’s why the top aircraft MRO companies always have Level II & Level III NDT inspectors present at their maintenance centers.
3. Global Awareness
The modern-day MRO industry is international. Apart from technical skills, aircraft repair technicians also need to communicate effectively and work fluidly in team environments. Since a lot of the services top aircraft MRO companies are exported, modern-day aircraft repair technicians need to have relationship-building skills. Only then can they engage effectively with customers from all around the world.
4. On-Site Services
The best aircraft MROs must offer high-quality on-site aircraft repair and maintenance services. These experts are constantly required to provide on-site repair services to resolve AOG situations (Aircraft on Ground). Thankfully, the best aircraft MROs can transport large-sized equipment and quickly fix the parts that airline companies can’t send to their facilities.
5. Trained Workforces
Long before the COVID19 crisis temporarily paralyzed the aviation industry, the industry was already facing a crippling labor shortage problem, particularly among repair technicians. Since 2020 was the industry’s worst year ever, the best MRO companies are looking to leverage their experienced workforces to gain competitive edges in 2021.
In 2020, Boeing reported that the aircraft MRO industry would require 600,000+ new repair technicians over the next twenty years. For many smaller MRO companies, the urgent need for recruiting high-quality aviation mechanics has already outpaced their capacities.
They can no longer assure the provision of highly trained aircraft repair and maintenance experts. The best MRO companies, on the other hand, have not only re-trained their workforces during the pandemic to prepare them for the new generation of aircraft entering the supply chain, but they’re also expanding their workforces.