04 November 2014

PH primed as MRO, interior parts hubs in Asia

The Philippines, currently a hub for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft manufacturers in Asia, is being primed also as a hub for parts and components of aircraft interior, the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines (AIAP) said.

AIAP also seeks to develop Clark and Subic as sites for MRO.

Currently, there are Filipinos working in MRO in Singapore and in Malaysia and AIAP wants to bring back these workers.

According to AIAP, Clark and Subic have huge potential. Clark has a good land area and length of runway. Companies that would like to manufacture and export parts can also use Subic as a platform for manufacture and export.

AIAP also cited the good infrastructure of Subic ideal for investments in the supply chain.

John Lee, president of AIAP, said the industry eyes to be one of the hubs for the interiors market in Asia. Other countries have set up base productions such as Singapore for engines.

“It might be good to entice other aircraft interiors suppliers, galleys, bathroom, plastic bins. We have to look at a niche market wherein we can contribute in terms of support group. In aerospace, players have to be very competent,” Lee added.

Suppliers have to go through a very strict accreditation process which could take about two years.

Lee said MOOG Controls Corp., which has been making precision controls, has been in the Philippines for quite some time and a lot of suppliers are already providing for the industry even before.

“Players have found a good market for this so they have expanded their production in terms of capacity building for aerospace,” Lee added.

He cited that like the Japanese automotive industry, aerospace players bring in their supply group. But MRO, he said, will always be part of the market as demand for airplanes in Asia is the highest in the world, which means more maintenance and repair.

German-Filipino firm Lufthansa Technik operates a competence center for the maintenance and overhaul of Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330-200/-300, A340-200/-300/-600 and the A380 in the Philippines.

SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corp. maintains a state-of-the-art MRO facility in Clark for aircraft certification and scheduled heavy maintenance checks, airframe structural inspections, repairs, modifications, paint-stripping, painting of aircraft exteriors and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) checks for narrow-body aircraft such as A320 and wide-body aircraft such as A330 and B777.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines also has its own repair facilities in the country.

The three key players in aerospace manufacturing include MOOG Control Corp., B/E Aerospace and Jamco Aerospace, Inc. (Irma Isip, Malaya Business Insight)