Arguments for and against electric flight are increasingly familiar – it could be revolutionary for short-range air travel, but impractical for airliners. It will be emissions-free, but with poor energy density.
While the positives and negatives are well-known, the behind-the-scenes impact is less clear. One area that could change significantly is maintenance, repair and operations (MRO). Airlines and specialized companies work around the world to ensure aircraft comply with regulations, minimizing time on the ground and protecting passenger safety. Providers have enjoyed relative homogeneity in the technology used by fossil-fuel-powered aeroplanes, but might now have to learn new skills and techniques thanks to the introduction of pure-electric and hybrid powertrains in planes and flying taxis.
According to Kevin Michaels’ MRO Industry Outlook, 40% of the money spent on air transport MRO in 2016 was on engines. Hybrid systems using turbines to charge batteries could shrink and simplify engines and lead to a decrease in the MRO aftermarket, Nikhil Sachdeva from consultancy Roland Berger told MRO-Network.com.