CIVIL-AIRFRAME maintenance markets are likely to show little or no growth over the next decade, despite an increase in flying hours, according to a controversial new study of the sector.

The study, compiled by the Utah-based Canaan Group consultancy, concludes that the number of man-hours required for heavy-airframe checks will stay flat over the next ten years as new-technology aircraft continue to enter the world fleet.

"Maintenance intervals are getting longer for new-technology aircraft and the number of manhours required for each major check is getting less and less," says consultant Andrew Todhunter.

He adds that the Canaan predictions have come from looking at the maintenance requirements of individual aircraft types.

Canaan believes that the next peak in demand at around the turn of the century will see growth of little more than 20%, before it returns to current levels.

Pressures to consolidate will grow, especially in the over-crowded third-party market, believes Todhunter. "We continue to see people enter the airframe market, despite huge overcapacity, but our forecast is that demand will not improve significantly. The market just won't support that additional capacity," he says.

The market for heavy-airframe checks is estimated to be worth $5 billion in 1995, of a total overhaul and maintenance market which stands at more than $20 billion.


Source: Flight International