GMF studying potential MRO facilities in east and west Indonesia

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GMF AeroAsia is studying the possibility of setting up new maintenance facilities in eastern and western parts of Indonesia.

The Indonesian maintenance, repair and overhaul firm is conducting feasibility studies on establishing hangars in Batam and Bintan - both in western Indonesia, its president and chief executive Richard Budihadianto tells Flightglobal Pro.

Batam's Hang Nadim airport is particularly attractive because it is in a free trade zone, and has good infrastructure, such as a long runway. It is also close to Singapore where aircraft spare parts are easily accessible. Bintan, meanwhile, is in the process of building a new airport and has made GMF an attractive offer, explains Budihadianto.

"Geographically, west Indonesia is good for our foreign customers because it's closer compared with Jakarta. If we set up there, it will be a facility for the heavy maintenance of widebody aircraft catering to foreign clients," says Budihadianto. He adds that he will make a trip down to Batam to conduct a site survey, and possibly make a decision by year end on whether to set up a hangar there.

In east Indonesia, the maintenance arm of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is considering setting up a facility either in Makassar or Manado. The facility will handle line maintenance for domestic carriers. The aim is to build a hangar that will be able to accommodate six narrowbody jets.

"The east lacks a line maintenance facility, and the preference is to set it up in Makassar because many airlines have a hub there and it's best for us to have a facility there so we can use the aircraft's ground time for maintenance," notes Budihadianto.

However, he adds that neither city has free trade zones, and that further discussions need to be held with the government for potential free trade zone-style benefits.

GMF has also secured land to set up a new hangar at Medan's upcoming Kuala Namu International Airport to handle line maintenance of Garuda's aircraft based there. Garuda had launched Medan as its fourth hub in May and based five of its 96-seat Bombardier CRJ1000 regional jets there.

To deal with its expansion plans, GMF is also in the process of training another 600 employees. It now has 3,200 employees, of which 80% are engineers and technicians. This figure is expected to hit 4,500 by 2015.

"It's a busy year for us because we need to catch up with the growth of airlines in the region. It's a good headache to have," says Budihadianto.