Revima has looked to undertake some changes to its operation in the past few years. What are some of the key objectives?
Our new project, started around 18 months ago, focuses on a number of areas. First, operational transformation at our existing site in France. This includes new machinery, lean practices and implementing a digital transformation. Second was to expand beyond our core origin of repair and overhaul services to areas such as fleet management, which is basically health monitoring on APUs and expanding our leasing services, as we’ve got a large pool of APUs and landing gear rotables. Engine parts repair and going deeper inside the APUs is also something we are looking to strengthen. In our repair and overhaul segment, another growth area, we offer used serviceable materials under our Material Solutions business. We source complete APUs and landing gears from sellers of dismantled aircraft for either remarketing through our own repairs or complete assemblies directly from the line.
Revima also has plans to grow overseas.
Yes. We will be opening a new repair facility in Thailand located south of Bangkok which will likely open in late 2019 or early 2020. This will focus on narrowbody aircraft landing gears such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.
Asia-Pacific is one of the world’s booming MRO segments but specifically, why did Revima choose to set up in Thailand?
We ran a long evaluation and discarded China soon after as this is a market within itself and is a location mostly for established airlines with intentions to grow their own in-house capabilities. The addressable market in China is much less than the wider Asia-Pacific region, so we chose to be outside of there. Thailand is following a similar path taken by Malaysia around a decade ago. We need skilled people we can retain in our workforce that also possess the know-how. Other factors such as the low cost of land, customs and labor were also favourable to us. The Thai government has also incentivized businesses like ours setting up in the country.
What is the current status of the project?
The land has been acquired and the previous facility that existed on the site has been demolished. We are currently evaluating offers from construction companies and we should decide on one next month. The plan is to break ground by January 2019 and then qualifications and certifications should follow soon after.
Access to skills is key for any repair specialist. How does Revima anticipate sourcing talent in Thailand?
Revima is fortunate enough to have hired an experienced head of the Asia-Pacific region who was previously president of Triumph Aviation Services in Thailand. This means we have someone with knowledge and access to universities, technical schools and partnerships in the region. Thai technicians also have a strong reputation for craftmanship and attention to detail. Our team will likely be a mix of Thai nationals and expatriates, with the latter particularly on the quality side of the operation. Once the facility is up and running, we expect to employ around 300 people there.