Is there really a shortage of qualified MRO personnel?

Posted on 21st June 2019 by Lodahl


Is there really a growing shortage of qualified MRO personnel?

And our predictions for the future!


We have been reading this today about the predicted future shortage of qualified MRO personnel and we thought you might also be interested.


We’ve been doing this nearly 20 years and these predictions have been around the industry as long as we have (see this Flight Global article from 2008 ), so we were wondering if the ‘doom mongers’ are really right this time?


Like all markets, there are short-term bubbles where there is a shortage of Licensed Engineers on particular types.  In the oil price boom of 2012 and 2013, there was significant demand for Engineers on S92 and Super Puma but the requirements for these disappeared almost overnight in late 2014 when the oil price dropped dramatically (as did the rates Engineers were paid!).


Since early 2018 we have seen a significant increase in rates for Licensed Engineers in Europe on the main Airbus types and more recently on the B737 NG.  This was started when a large number of A330s and A340s went in for base maintenance and modification, which highlighted the shortage in Europe of widebody Engineers with base maintenance experience.  Traditionally we never had any issues recruiting A320 or B737 Engineers, but the demand for these peaked later in 2018 and pushed the rates up by around 25%.  The competition for these Engineers from MROs has become extremely fierce and the Engineers have become very aware of their own value.


They say only fools try and predict the future, so here we go!

  • Aviation recruitment will have its ‘Uber moment’.  There are huge inefficiencies in the market with qualified Engineers available in one place and MROs who need them in others. This is a ripe area for innovation and a successful entrant to this market will help decrease the skills gap in the short-term and will drive greater efficiency and cost savings in the mid-term.
  • Aircraft manufacturers will build their own MRO capabilities and will be able to sell operators full support packages with their aircraft.  The OEMs have huge influence with government policy makers and will get support to recruit and train large numbers of maintenance staff.  This will give them a longer-term advantage and will lead to some consolidation in the third-party MRO market.
  • The large airworthiness authorities (EASA, FAA, etc.) will work together to standardise personnel licensing, allowing greater freedom of movement by skilled people.



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