MRO Markets Booming

For proof that the aviation repair station business is a profoundly different beast in economically troubling times, we need look no further than the Aeronautical Repair Station Association’s (ARSA) latest economic study. “Global MRO Market Economic Assessment,” a comprehensive review of the global maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) marketplace in 2012, is glowing validation that the civil MRO market is roaring.

Since 2008, when ARSA released the last round of economic data, the global civil MRO market expanded 31.3 percent, from $50.1 billion to $65.8 billion. In a period rocked by economic strife the maintenance industry grew at an astonishing rate and employed approximately 466,000 highly skilled technicians.

The report’s breakdown, which includes engine overhaul, heavy airframe, component, and line maintenance, reveals some head-turning trends. Each sector grew, and the economic activity from each dollar spent yielded a greater impact than four years prior.

Heavy airframe maintenance

The worldwide heavy airframe maintenance segment grew the most rapidly, spiking 42.8 percent, from $9.1 billion in 2008 to $13 billion in 2012. While Asia-Pacific and South America picked up shares of this market, North American heavy maintenance providers grew since 2008 and still hold a solid plurality of the sector’s global market with 38 percent. The multiplier effect of each dollar spent yielded $1.39 in 2012, up one cent from the previous report.

Component maintenance

Component maintenance saw a growth of 37.7 percent, from $12.2 billion in 2008 to $16.8 billion in 2012. The impact of component maintenance on the overall economy is strong, with each dollar spent resulting in $1.68 of economic activity, up one cent from 2008. The report also contains a breakdown of the different market segments; wheels and brake repair increased from 17 to 25 percent of the component MRO market.

Engine overhaul

The largest MRO segment, engine overhaul, continued to grow through 2012. Engine overhaul increased by 35.2 percent to $26.1 billion, up $6.8 billion since 2008. While the Asia-Pacific region’s market share grew by 5 percent, North America still controls more than a third of the market at 36 percent. The sector also yields the greatest economic activity, with one dollar contributing $1.88, up three cents since the previous report.

The smallest market segment, line maintenance, also saw the smallest growth: up $300 million globally over the last four years to $9.9 billion, an increase of 3.1 percent. The Asia-Pacific region’s market share doubled in the four-year period to 28 percent, but North America still maintains a plurality of the market with 29 percent. Each dollar spent on line maintenance generates $1.19 in economic activity, a two cent increase from 2008.

The MRO industry growth trends in the United States mirror a lot of what is happening globally. The economic impact of the domestic MRO industry grew to $47 billion, up more than 20 percent since 2008. Amid the country’s devastating unemployment, the U.S. aviation maintenance job market expanded more than 11 percent, now employing more than 306,000 highly skilled professionals.

ARSA is very openly engaged in its Positive Publicity Campaign to prove to the media, lawmakers, and public that aviation maintenance is a thriving industry, has an enormous impact on the global economy, creates jobs, and leads to a more reliable and effective aviation industry. You can help raise the profile and understanding of the MRO industry by sharing this new economic data with your lawmakers using ARSA’s grassroots web site


Christian Klein serves as ARSA’s executive vice president. He has more than 15 years of experience with lobbying, political communications, and law. For more information visit