MRO demand to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, report suggests

The MRO sector is being ‘redefined’ as airlines begin to take delivery of new, highly fuel efficient narrowbody aircraft, according to Oliver Whyman’s Global Fleet & MRO Forecast 2022-2032.

The latest report into commercial aircraft deliveries and inventories predicts MRO demand to reach $118 billion by 2030 – 13 per cent below the pre-Covid forecast of $135 billion.

MRO demand should recover to pre-COVID levels by 2024, but annual growth in the second half of the report’s 10-year forecast period will be 2.8%.

“There is optimism that the industry has turned the corner and is now on an upward trajectory – but the next 10 years will be filled with a multitude of challenges that will test the industry’s resilience unlike ever before,” said Brian Prentice, a partner with Oliver Wyman.

“As unimaginably bad as COVID-19 has been for aviation, the challenge of the next decade [carbon dioxide emissions] may be almost as disruptive. The industry needs smart strategies to get itself in a better position by the 2030s.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The global fleet is set to grow to 38,100 aircraft by 2032 — a compound growth rate of 4.1% over the decade.
  • Narrowbody aircraft will make up a larger share of the fleet — 64% in January 2032 versus 58% in January 2020 — as the slow recovery of international traffic after COVID-19 is depressing the number of widebodies in service.
  • The fleet won’t reach its pre-pandemic peak of almost 28,000 until the first half of 2023
  • The dedicated global cargo fleet grew 3% and conversions of passenger aircraft to freight carriers broke records, thanks to a double-digit expansion in demand with the COVID-related explosion in online shopping and the loss of cargo belly capacity.

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