Gov’t out to groom PH as global aerospace hub
The Department of Trade and Industry has asked major players in the global aerospace industry to make the Philippines their prime hub in the region for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of their aircraft, given the country’s growing capacities to serve this sector.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. said they were able to hold discussions with American multinational Boeing Co., Brazil’s Embraer-Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, and Airbus SAS of France during the 2014 Singapore Airshow held last month.
Manalo explained how Philippine trade officials approached the companies to pitch their proposal to turn the country into a maintenance repair and overhaul hub.
This sector, he said, can generate significant employment for the country and holds a huge potential in terms of technology transfer.
“More importantly, it caters to growing fleet of airlines in Asia,” Manalo said.
“They are looking at Asia to grow between 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent in the next 15 to 20 years. That means that the value and volume of the MRO may more than double within that period,” he added.
Apart from the three of the biggest players in the industry, the DTI delegation to the Singapore Airshow was able to speak also with the manufacturers of other aircraft like helicopters and drones to set up training facilities in the Philippines for mechanics and machinists.
“We have a potential advantage because we already have an MRO sector. We have engineers who are capable, can be easily trained, and English proficient,” Manalo said.
At present, the country is host to several maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, including Lufthansa Technik in Naia which services, among others, Airbus A380s operating out of the Philippines.
The SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corp. in Clark, which is part of the Singapore Airlines Group, offers a suite of capabilities including aircraft certification and scheduled heavy maintenance checks, airframe structural inspections, repairs, modifications, paint-stripping, painting of aircraft exteriors and Non-Destructive Testing checks.
While there is no room at the Naia for more MRO facilities, there are however large spaces available within Clark in Pampanga, to host potential maintenance, repair and overhaul hubs, Manalo said.
The DTI delegation also spoke with representatives of industry associations including the Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales (Gifas), or the French Aerospace Indutries Association, for possible partnerships and joint ventures with member companies.
The Philippines, for its part, has its own organization, the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines, which is relatively young as it was formed only in 2012, according to Manalo.
The Singapore Airshow is Asia’s largest and one of the most important aerospace and defense exhibitions globally.
It features state-of-the-art systems and equipment, together with their related technologies and developments, which are displayed by top aerospace companies around the world.
Featuring high-level conferences such as the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit and the Asia Pacific Security Conference, the show attracts some 900 exhibiting companies from 50 countries, and over 270 official delegations from 70 countries around the world.
In 2012, the third edition of the biennial show has set new records for value of deals, announced at over $31 billion—a threefold increase from the previous event in 2010.
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