The African maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) markets are set to grow rapidly over the next six years, as a result of ongoing liberalization efforts in many countries and the subsequent emergence of new airlines aimed at meeting latent demand. The ability of regional and international MROs to cater for the anticipated MRO demand levels will depend on the presence of a valued portfolio of services and a deeper understanding of the unique needs and requirements of African airlines.
Frost & Sullivan finds that the African Airframe and Engine MRO Markets earned revenues of $1.44 billion in 2005 and estimates this to reach $2.05 billion in 2012.
“Attractive air traffic growth rates and the expected domestic and regional air transport liberalization initiatives will drive growth in the African MRO market,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Diogenis Papiomytis. “Although African MRO suppliers cannot yet compete against their international rivals, their installed base is sufficient to allow them to effectively commercialize their business over time to meet the requirements of African airlines.”
Air traffic growth will be primarily driven by a liberalized air transport industry, keen to offer opportunities to new market entrants willing to take advantage of latent demand. The largest African markets, such as Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria have already implemented domestic liberalization packages, allowing free competition amongst airlines. Such trends are, in turn, set to influence aircraft utilization rates, as well as the number of new aircraft deliveries, and subsequently the level of demand for MRO services.
However, the economic limitations experienced by the majority of African carriers, due to poor management and an unfavourable economic and political climate, have negatively affected the profitability and competitiveness of African MRO suppliers. The airlines’ limited financial capacity has resulted in frequent ‘aircraft on ground’ situations, missed payments for maintenance work and a general unwillingness to adopt sophisticated maintenance commercial models, such as power-by-the-hour (PBTH) and equalized maintenance.
“In a market dominated by small- and medium-sized carriers, with limited financial capacity to budget for maintenance models that require upfront payments, it is important to retain those commercial models that provide value to the customer,” explains Papiomytis. “Time-and-material (TAM) ad hoc models are still a popular option amongst African airlines and the provision of these, along with a portfolio of services reflecting the fleet composition of African fleets, will determine the success of an MRO supplier competing in this market.”
Adopting a commercialized business model and responding to customer needs will be critical to succeed in Africa. The African MRO market volume is rapidly increasing, providing substantial opportunities to customer-oriented suppliers that are willing to invest in finding innovative ways to cater to the unsophisticated and inefficient maintenance practices of African carriers.
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African Airframe and Engine MRO Markets