Impressive Numbers Demonstrate the Safety Contributions of Repair Stations

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ARTICLE: New ARSA study underscores economic strength of MRO industry

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The stereotypical image of a repair station is a small, mom-and-pop organization with minimal equipment and even less technical competence. At least that has been the picture which the mechanic unions have painted. Reality is more accurately defined by examining the statistics as to the industry’s market size.

The ARSA survey (above link) has added substantially to the knowledge of the dollar volume of the work performed by its members and the numbers are impressive and substantial:

  • Heavy airframe maintenance accounts for $13.0 billion;

º More than 70% is provided to air transport aircraft, with 38% performed on aircraft based in North America.

º Every dollar spent on heavy airframe maintenance generates $1.39 dollars of economic activity.

  • Engine overhaul accounts for $26.1 billion; more than 86% is provided to air transport aircraft, with 36% performed on aircraft based in North America.

º One dollar spent on engine overhaul generates $1.88 of economic activity.

  • Component maintenance accounts for $16.8 billion; more than 70% is for air transport aircraft, with 37% ultimately being installed on aircraft based in North America.

º One dollar spent on component maintenance generates $1.68 of economic activity.

Those are numbers which can only be handled by large, sophisticated companies. Perhaps more importantly than the total size of the MRO market is $65B and the US DoT Office of Inspector General estimates that the repair stations handle between 37% and 64% of the US Airlines maintenance budget. If Congress continues to compel the FAA to impose unnecessary burdens on contracting by airlines to Part 145 certificated entities, this source of critical safety services will be impacted negatively.

Air carriers have benefitted from and rely on this vital and significant MRO segment. Maybe it is time to stop looking for ways to make life more difficult for these companies. Given the ARSA numbers, it might be more appropriate for Washington (the policy makers) to recognize the contributions of the Part 145 sector and try to define actions that will contribute to their growth and thus facilitate the further growth of these safety driven enterprises.

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