With the continuing exponential growth in the commercial aviation aftermarket, Airbus has published its first Global Services Forecast (GSF). This forecast predicts that over the next 20 years the total industry aftermarket services spend will reach US$3 trillion.
Of this total, the cumulative value of Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) activity will exceed $1.8 trillion by the year 2035. On an annual basis, Airbus predicts that the MRO spend will grow from $53 billion to over $132 billion per year, representing an average year-on-year growth of 4.6%.
Aftermarket services activity is inherently linked to the growth of the passenger fleet in general – which will more than double from 19,500 commercial aircraft over 100 seats at the end of 2015 to almost 40,000 by the year 2035. Consequently, the need for pilots and technicians will commensurably increase: Today there are an estimated 200,000 active pilots who fly passenger aircraft. Airbus’ GSF predicts that this is set grow to some 450,000 pilots by 2035. Furthermore, this absolute total number of active pilots needed by the year 2035, plus the need to replace flight-crew who retire during the next 20 years will result in the need to train as many as 560,000 new pilots over this period.
In terms of technical staff needed, the Airbus GSF predicts a requirement to train approximately 540,000 new technicians who will fulfil various duties across airframe, engines, and components domains.
Of particular note, with the accelerating demand for aviation and its burgeoning airline fleets, Asia-Pacific will represent the largest portion of the market for both MRO activity and the need for new qualified pilots and technicians, while Europe and North America combined will account for approximately one third of the total MRO market spend.