Forecasting spare parts demand is notoriously difficult, as demand is typically intermittent and lumpy. Specialized methods such as that by Croston are available, but these are not based on the repair operations that cause the intermittency and lumpiness of demand. In this paper, we do propose a method that, in addition to the demand for spare parts, considers the type of component repaired. This two-step forecasting method separately updates the average number of parts needed per repair and the number of repairs for each type of component. The method is tested in an empirical, comparative study fora service provider in the aviation industry. Our results show that the two-step method is one of the most accurate methods, and that it performs considerably better than Croston's method. Moreover, contrary to other methods, the two-step method can use information on planned maintenance and repair operations to reduce forecasts errors by up to 20%. We derive further analytical and simulation results that help explain the empirical findings. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.