LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services (LOTAMS) has reiterated its commitment to building an extensive greenfield facility at Rzeszow in Poland, but will implement “optimisation processes” and seek cost savings to deal with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, the MRO provider – a sister company of Polish state carrier LOT – disclosed a plan to establish a base maintenance complex with three hangars for narrow- and widebody aircraft at Rzeszow airport, with a target of servicing LOT and third-party aircraft from 2022.

Noting that the project was launched amid predictions of dynamic aviation growth and “huge demand for MRO services”, LOTAMS acknowledges that “the current situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic changes these forecasts”, and expects to “feel negative effects in the near future”.

The MRO provider’s president Aleksandra Juda foresees an economic slowdown, with the pandemic “possibly leading to recession for a short period”. But she argues that investment projects like the Rzeszow facility should have “priority” because they stimulate economic activity.

LOTAMS says “it will be necessary to introduce optimisation processes and savings” to respond to the slowdown, but adds that the expansion represents an opportunity to “maintain staff and service capabilities”.

Meanwhile, the initial project phase has reached an “advanced” stage. Following a preliminary agreement for land purchase at Rzeszow airport in 2019, LOTAMS last month signed a contract with French-based engineering consultancy Safege for the construction. Progress on the facility’s design is “very advanced”, the MRO provider says

It describes the project as a “strategic investment for the Polish economy”. The company plans to employ 1,500 staff at the site by 2030 and invest a total Z500 million ($119 million) there. More than 300 people are to be employed during an initial operational phase, which is set to require an investment of approximately Z150 million.