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Making Waves in the Baltic

Repair specialists in Eastern Europe are looking at growing and eyeing up overseas opportunities.

The Baltic region likes to market itself as a hotspot for enterprise and digital innovation. Estonia, for instance, claims more "unicorns," youngish technology businesses valued at more than $1 billion, per capita than any other country.

That spirit can also be found in the region’s MRO sector, where two companies in particular--Lithuania’s FL Technics and Estonia’s Magnetic MRO--have embarked on aggressive international expansion and technology upgrades.

With the Baltic MRO market only worth about $126 million, according to Aviation Week data, FL Technics is seeking to capitalize on Asian demand with several new ventures.

Harbin-based FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering, a joint venture with local partners China Aircraft Leasing and ARI, aims to provide A320- and 737-family support. It has just received line maintenance approval from Chinese regulators and is progressing towards EASA certification.

Meanwhile, in August 2018, FL Technics Indonesia earned FAA Part 145 certification for its operation at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International.

“We can fulfill the demand for MRO worldwide, I am absolutely sure of it,” said Zilvinas Lapinskas, CEO of FL Technics, tells Inside MRO.

Magnetic MRO has also been busy abroad, most recently via this year’s acquisition of Dutch line maintenance provider Direct Maintenance, which has a network of 11 line stations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the U.S.

“Historically, our focus has been in Europe and our main base and line maintenance customers have been from the area [but] that trend has been changing within the past few years,” says chief operating officer Jan Kotka.

Also in 2019, the company opened EngineStands24 in Dubai, a warehouse to store stands for narrowbody aircraft engines such as the CFM56 and V2500.

True to Estonia’s digital heart, Internet access is enshrined as a basic human right in the country, Magnetic is also developing virtual reality solutions for interior inspections, 3D laser scanning for damage inspection and a digitization plan that includes 3D printing and fingerprint scanning.

“Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg as we have many more activities ongoing and ahead of us,” says Kotka.

To find out more about the Baltic MRO market see the next issue of Inside MRO.

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