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Indonesia's MRO growth not 'fast enough' for airlines: GMF chief

Indonesia's MRO companies are not growing fast enough to meet the maintenance needs of the country's airlines, says GMF AeroAsia president and chief executive Richard Budihadianto.

According to the Garuda Indonesia maintenance arm's forecast, Indonesian carriers will spend $950 million on MRO work this year. This figure is expected to more than double to $2 billion by 2015.

Indonesian MRO companies now absorbs less than 30% of the country's maintenance work, with 70% outsourced to other companies in the region. GMF adopts about 70% of the work done locally, says Budihadianto.

"The country's MRO growth is just not fast enough to meet the airlines' growth," he adds.

Manpower is an issue as it takes more than five years to train a mechanic to operate independently - much longer than the time taken to build a maintenance facility, says Budihadianto.

Over the next two years, GMF will need to recruit about 1,300 workers as its fourth hangar starts operations.

As president of the Indonesian Aircraft Maintenance Shop Association, Budihadianto has also been pushing for the country to build an aviation park. Progress has, however, been slow as the various industries involved are unable to coordinate their efforts and push the plan forward.

Budihadianto expects that Indonesia will require at least two aviation parks - one in Jakarta, and another one in the eastern part of the country such as Makassar.

Last November, the country's vice-minister for transportation Bambang Susantono said Indonesia plans to double its MRO capabilities over the next five years to absorb up to 60% of local aircraft maintenance work. To do this, it will need an additional 2,000 technicians and engineers, and also, an aerospace park, he adds.

GMF recently started construction of its fourth hangar, a 64,000m² (689,000ft²) facility that will be able to accommodate 16 narrowbody aircraft, and also has plans to build a fifth hangar in either Jakarta or Medan.

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