Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) specialist SR Technics plans to build a new facility at Malta International Airport, with construction commencing soon, and to begin operating there in an existing hangar in the third quarter of this year. It hopes to benefit from lower labor costs in the region and from its location which gives the Switzerland-based group a foothold in the European Union.
“We have appointed a general manager and our local recruitment campaign is running very successfully,” a spokesman told AIN. The company envisions creating up to 350 jobs in Malta by 2014. At present, it will be very busy thanks to an 11-year extension of an approximately $1.6 billion contract to support EasyJet’s Airbus A319 fleet.
SR Technics is launching its Maltese operation in an existing two-bay hangar and plans to start construction on a four-bay hangar imminently. Initially, the MRO facility will focus on the Airbus A320 family, for which it will perform intermediate layover (IL) checks and C-checks. It also expects to offer support for the Boeing 737 family from early 2012, once the new hangar is completed.
Choosing Malta, where rival Lufthansa Technik also has a base, was driven not only by lower labor costs. “A workforce with relevant skills is available locally,” a spokesman said. Moreover, SR Technics sees a significant number of potential customers within a four-hour ferry flight radius of the Mediterranean island–resulting in a prospective MRO market spanning the whole of Europe, as well as significant parts of Africa and the Middle East.
SR Technics also is touting its reduced turnaround times for aircraft checks. The company is introducing to the market its “equalized maintenance” (or E check) concept, which has reduced downtime on A320 family aircraft by 17 days over a six-year maintenance period. It developed the concept while maintaining EasyJet aircraft during 2003-2009.
In addition, it has reduced the turnaround time for an Airbus A320 family IL check from 21 to 14 days. For the fleet’s CFM International CFM56-5B, CFM56-5C and CFM56-7 engines, turnaround time stands at 45 days.
Meanwhile, SR Technics has plans to enter the U.S. market and in March opened a sales office in Sunrise, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. In May, it opened a technical training facility in Abu Dhabi, and beginning in September, will offer base maintenance services in Zurich for Boeing aircraft.
In another move, in April, the company closed its component services organization at London Stansted Airport with the loss of 340 jobs, consolidating that work at its Zurich facility.
SR Technics (Hall 4 Stand D9) is exhibiting in Farnborough alongside its partner company Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, also part of the MRO network of the Mubadala Development Co.