Globalisation Continues; MRO at Right Place, Right Time

MRO Americas, Orlando, Fl: Better MRO delivery in the right place at the right time, and an increase in partnerships between global MRO players and regional players were two of the key messages to come from the MRO Americas session on globalisation of the MRO industry.

Jim Sokol, president of MRO Services at HAECO Americas, commenting on how globalisation plays out differently for heavy maintenance, described his company as being “agnostic” in its view and emphasised that it “makes sense to do the right work, with the right level of talent in the right place at the right time”.

HAECO aided its globalisation by acquiring TIMCO Aviation Services in 2014. “Three years in and we’re developing something consistent for all of our customers,” Sokol noted. “It made sense for both the markets in both Asia and North America by giving HAECO a broader network. Also, wherever the work is done, the product is the same.”

Aiming to provide a global centre for MRO is the strategy of the Thai Government in developing U-Tapao as an MRO hub, reported Ajarin Pattanapanchai, Deputy Secretary General, Thailand Board of Investment. Her role is to helps high profile OEMs and MROs get started in Thailand.

The country’s aim is to offer a competitive wage structure compared with Singapore and Malaysia. According to Pattanapanchai, it also offers lower landing/takeoff/parking fees than most other countries in the region, again including Singapore.

“The infrastructure is there – both in talent and experience,” Pattanapanchai added. “We’re stronger in component supply than actual MRO, but that is changing. The Government is trying to make sure that the human resource is available and is introducing new courses for that.”

Hisham Nasser, chairman and consultant, Egyptair Maintenance and Engineering, believes globalisation will activate new ideas. In terms of the structure of MRO in the Middle East in the next 10 years, Nasser indicated that those ideas will include the possibility of affiliating with some major MROs, such as Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance. “First, the region has to reach a certain level of stability, but I think we will see a lot of [these affiliations].”

The whole of the African MRO market is becoming more competitive, Nasser observed. He admitted that Ethiopian Airlines was ahead of Egyptair as a result of having bought new aircraft – 787s and A350s, but declared his company competitive with South African Airways which he said is facing the problem of aging competent personnel. “The competition is a healthy environment though,” Nasser commented.

One region not being seen as an attractive opportunity is Europe. Sokol confirmed that HAECO has “had some customers approach us to do that, but we’re currently not seeing it. The cost of labour and the issues surrounding that need to be sorted out first”.

By Bernie Baldwin, Editorial Contributor

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