Aviation Maintenance Today: Changes and Challenges
As the world continues to grapple with the challenges posed by COVID-19, experts in the global aviation maintenance industry advocate keeping aircraft platforms airworthy. The current situation is atypical, but requirements have not changed and the pandemic has increased maintenance tasks. Aircraft taken out of storage required additional inspections and operational checks before being released for flight. This is just one example of the changes in the industry. The myriad of other changes and challenges facing industry leaders today are vastly different than they were two years ago. But thanks to the resilience and innovation of the aviation maintenance sector, industry leaders are adapting and responding to these challenges head-on.
Top trends to watch:
- Lack of qualified staff
- The growing fleet of new aircraft
- Innovative technology
- Trends in a technical training
In Pilots and Technicians Outlook 2020-2039, a Boeing expert predicts a need for over 739,000 new maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. Technology is constantly evolving and aviation maintenance technicians must acquire new skills while maintaining their ability to service older aircraft. Future aeronautical engineers should feel as comfortable using their laptops and tablets as they do with the tools in their toolboxes.
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After several years of record growth, Oliver Wyman's global 2021 to 2031 fleet and MRO market forecasts show cautious optimism. Despite a slow initial recovery, the aviation industry is expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and grow steadily through 2031. Slower growth could lead to higher retirement rates for older aircraft, accelerating a necessary shift to technology-based solutions and expertise for aviation maintenance professionals.
Industry-oriented programs such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Bachelor of Aeronautical Maintenance and Master of Aeronautical Maintenance degrees prepare students to adapt and deal with the many changes in aviation maintenance facing the industry. With a focus on leadership and aviation management, graduates are prepared to meet the challenges.
Technology is changing the way aircraft are maintained today. Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in predictive maintenance, blockchain, and drones are just a few of the technologies revolutionizing the aviation industry. Manufacturers and fleet managers are quickly realizing the benefits and efficiencies. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System "sUAS". For example, using advanced image processing software to inspect cracks and problem areas during aircraft skin inspection saves costs in terms of technician time and other resources. Using drones to perform tedious and redundant inspections frees maintenance technicians to focus on more specialized tasks.
Trends In Technical Training
The early slowdown in aircraft deliveries has created an unexpected and unique dilemma for today's aviation maintenance engineers. Not only are technicians responsible for unforeseen special maintenance tasks caused by the pandemic, but they also have to continue servicing older aircraft and working on next-generation platforms. To meet increased demand and maintain capacity, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) managers are stepping up their specialized training to provide superior service to our customers. Aircraft predictive maintenance analytics, non-destructive testing techniques, advanced composite repairs, and troubleshooting are just a few of the areas MRO managers focus on in their training programs.
The Future of Aviation Maintenance
Despite the struggles, as in some recent reports, the world requires 754,000 licensed AME. Furthermore, the UDAN scheme launched in 2016 will boost the aviation industry, favoring Aviation Maintenance Engineers.
The MRO organization is being set up by Boeing and Airbus in various Indian states, creating thousands of jobs for Aviation Maintenance Engineers. Also, the growth rate of passengers is approximately 25% requiring the need for new airplanes, thereby the need for more Aircraft Maintenace Engineers.
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There are several important trends at work when it comes to line maintenance. Some airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and Delta maintain the same maintenance business but have significantly increased outsourcing of line maintenance to external maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) providers. Airlines are also improving processes and positioning the airline for growth. Challenges and new market dynamics are driving airlines to adopt optimization software to streamline and improve their maintenance processes.
Currently, the epidemic is under very good control, many countries have been reopening their international flights and the problems need to be resolved quickly to best serve customers. Above are the changes and challenges about aviation maintenance you need to watch.
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