Do Aircrafts Also Need Health Check-ups? All About MRO!

Did you know that aircrafts need to care for their health like humans? Aircrafts consist of not only the engine and fuselage, but also tens of thousands of parts. They go through constant inspection and repair—maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) are required to keep aircrafts running healthy and safely.

As the number of aircrafts has increased and the aviation industry has grown, MRO has its own industry. For instance, efficient MRO requires skilled technicians, various facilities, and large hangars. The industry related to MRO is referred to as the MRO industry.

Aviation MRO is a fast growing industry in the world. As of 2018, the market volume of MRO is estimated as USD 77.4 billion and expected to reach USD 114.7 billion by 2028. To stay competitive globally in the aviation industry, it is indispensable to foster aviation MRO. In Korea, however, there is a lack of interest in aviation MRO compared to air transport or aircraft manufacturing.

Here’s a quick FAQ on for those curious about MRO. It will cover topics catered to those who don’t know a thing about the aviation industry to aviation enthusiasts. Now, let’s get nerdy about MRO!

Incheon Airport’s MRO 101!

Q. What does MRO mean exactly?

MRO stands for “maintenance, repair and overhaul.” It involves the overall process of maintenance, repair and overhaul. In other words, MRO refers to manufacturing-related maintenance services to ensure aircraft safety and optimal operations.

Q. What happens in case of insufficient MRO?

First and foremost, aircraft safety may be compromised. If you do not have proper MRO, it decreases maintenance quality and leads to more flight cancellations. It results in an overall decline in air service quality. As it is a promising industry, there could be potential economic loss.

Q. What is the status of MRO in Korea?

Korea is one of the top 10 countries in air transport. MRO in the country, however, is not as good. Mostly, it has grown around the domestic market with maintenance companies under airlines, and many of them rely on foreign maintenance companies. 46% (KRW 1.258 trillion) out of KRW 2.76 trillion spent by airlines in Korea as of 2019 go to China, Taiwan, Singapore, and other countries.

Q. Is there a reason why MRO should be performed in Korea, not abroad?

Since it is directly related to safety, MRO needs to be performed immediately in Korea, not other countries. MRO has more competitiveness when it is conducted in nearer places. If Korea has MRO, it can generate huge economic benefits. Since the aviation market is rapidly growing in Asia, Korea may serve as the driving force in the global MRO market.

Q. Why is MRO important in the future?

The MRO industry is dubbed as a future new growth engine. The aviation industry, which will grow in the future, is characterized by the organic growth of air transport, air manufacturing, and MRO. While air transport and air manufacturing have grown in Korea, MRO still has a long way to go. In the future, modes of air transport will be expanded further. To establish infrastructure for the future aviation industry, it is required to develop the MRO industry.

Q. What should Korea do to develop the MRO industry?

MRO requires a lot of early infrastructure investment. In other words, the industry cannot show up voluntarily without government-led incubation. It is necessary to prepare various policies on tax breaks, subsidies, and customs for imported aircraft parts.

Incheon Airport’s plan for domestic MRO development

Q. I’m curious about Incheon Airport’s plan to develop MRO!

Incheon Airport is currently in the process of its phase 4 construction scheduled for 2024. As part of the construction, Incheon Airport is building a large MRO cluster. Incheon Airport is planning to ensure technology in MRO and competitiveness in the global MRO market. In particular, the MRO industry when built in Incheon Airport can reduce flight delays or cancellations due to maintenance. So, you can look forward to safer and easier travel!

There is also hot news which will accelerate Incheon Airport’s MRO journey. After competition with other candidates such as China and India, Incheon Airport was selected as the first foreign production site for aircraft conversion by Israeli cargo conversion company IAI’s B777-300ER.

Exports in the “Cargo Aircraft Conversion and Large Cargo Aircraft Heavy Maintenance Project” with cargo conversion facilities scheduled to be completed in 2024 in Incheon Airport, are expected to reach KRW 1 trillion in cumulative terms by 2040 and greatly contribute to shared growth with MRO.

This post covered a wide range of lingering questions about MRO. This has been a great opportunity to understand how important MRO is for our safety and the development of the aviation industry. Incheon Airport will fully invest to improve competitiveness in MRO. We look forward to your interest in MRO and Incheon Airport’s next steps!

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