A shortage of skilled and qualified engineers to cope with the world’s growing feet of aircraft is putting a strain on the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry, and Aviation Week says addressing that problem was on the minds of many Nov. 2 at its MRO Asia conference and exhibition in Singapore.
Alex Choo, assistant honorary secretary of the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers (SIAE), said, “This industry is 24/7 and has a harsh demand on a person’s time.” He said engineers are being required to work longer hours or tackle two or three different jobs. Choo said many MRO firms are trying to make up for the staff shortfall by poaching from other MRO companies or recruiting from the air force or related industries. But he said a longer-term solution would be to get vocational training colleges as well as high schools to include aerospace in their curriculums.
However, even if MRO firms find and train new people, it takes one-and-a-half years for these recruits to get up to speed and become useful, said Chander Mohan Bhatia, maintenance instructor for Kingfisher Airlines. He also stressed that the industry needs to ensure it recruits people with the right attitude and aptitude.