Aerospace industry boosting MRO capability (Business Mirror (Philippines))

The country’s aerospace industry is taking more efforts to fill the gap in its supply chain, with the goal of enticing more manufacturing companies to produce aerospace parts and boosting its capability in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment.

We’re looking for Philippine manufacturers to invest in aerospace. We’re looking at other industries in manufacturing, like in automotive, motorcycle, die and mold, and we’re inviting them to join the aerospace supply chain, said John Lee, president of the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines (AIAP).

The local aerospace industry held an investment forum late in July for that purpose, with Tier-1 companies, or those directly supplying to global- aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus, in attendance.

Following the forum, the AIAP president is hoping companies interested to join the supply chain can be included in the Department of Science and Technology-Metals Industry Research and Development Centre’s program in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The two agencies’ program seeks to upgrade the manufacturing capabilities of companies to industry grade, especially in aerospace processes, such as metrology.

We want more companies to get into sheet metal and Computer Numerical Control machining, and other aerospace special processes, Lee added.

Lee said the DTI may fund the program for the incoming year, although they have yet to propose an amount.

The program will also be expanded this year to include processes, such as soldering and welding, to focus on the MRO side of the industry.

Rising demand for aviation mechanics

Notably, on the human resource side, the industry is also collaborating with aviation schools to scale up the skills of students in aviation mechanics.

We’re enticing more people into the MRO side with an aviation mechanics program because a lot of planes, worldwide, are now being commissioned, and there’s a demand for their upkeep. Globally, there is a backlog of 30,000 commissioned planes, and Boeing and Airbus are saying 40,000 to 50,000 workers are needed, Lee said.

In the Asean region, there is a demand for the profession, as well. During the recent investment forum, Lee said a Malaysian company was looking for more than 18,000 aviation mechanics for the next three years.

We need more mechanics to train; what we have now is not enough. Worldwide, demand is growing, Lee said. We’re ahead of our [industry] road map, but we need to fill in our supply-chain gap so we can have a better growth rate, he added.