The global aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector faces fresh challenges from rising labour costs and a weak recovery in the widebody market as shop visits begin to rebound after a severe pandemic-related slump.

The MRO sector, worth an estimated $68.4 billion in 2021, according to consultancy Oliver Wyman, has been battered by retirements of older planes, which typically require more maintenance, and reduced flying hours for the rest of airlines’ fleets.

That has led to less wear and tear on parts and given airlines with grounded planes the ability to conserve cash and postpone shop visits.

Industry delegates at the Singapore Airshow said that the outlook was improving but that labour costs were rising. They said the recovery was lumpy and focused on specific areas where air travel was rebounding, such as narrowbody aircraft and dedicated freighters, with older passenger widebodies lagging well behind.Read more