French aerospace firms eye stronger presence in PH

MANILA, Philippines – French firms engaged in aircraft parts suppliers and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) are eyeing a stronger presence in the Philippines due to increasing demand for air travel, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said.

The Philippines supplies anywhere from galleys to toilets and flight control systems to the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers and is now an MRO hub for carriers.

Domingo said over the weekend that one of the aircraft companies is setting up a buying mission in the Philippines by September to add more parts to the local operations. Domingo declined to elaborate further.

The 3 key players in aerospace parts manufacturing include MOOG Controls Corporation, B/E Aerospace, and Jamco.

In the MRO space, the major players are German-Filipino firm Lufthansa Technik, Singapore Air (SIA) Engineering, and recently, Airbus Helicopters.

Lufthansa Technik operates a competence center for the maintenance and overhaul of Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330-200/-300, A340-200/-300/-600 and the A380 in the Philippines.

SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corporation maintains an MRO facility in Clark for aircraft certification and scheduled heavy maintenance checks; airframe structural inspections; repairs; modifications; paint-stripping; painting of aircraft exteriors; and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) checks for narrow-body aircraft such as A320 and wide-body aircraft such as A330 and Boeing B777.

In November 2014, France ambassador to the Philippines Gilles Garachon said that there were exploratory talks on the private sector side, in time for the visit to the country of French President Francois Hollande in February this year.

The opportunities seen were both in the supply of aircraft parts, including MRO.

DTI earlier said the Philippines is well credentialed as leading companies such as SDV, Lufthansa Technik, MOOG Technologies, and BE Aerospace have already given the country a foothold in the global aerospace supply chain. (READ: France to invest in PH aerospace industry)

During Hollande's visit, the following infrastructure projects were signed:

Several French companies are already present in the country, such as Alstom, Airbus, Bureau Veritas, Cofely, Freyssinet, Matiere, Socotec and Systra, and Total.

Domingo also said that two American companies are eyeing to set up local operations in two to 3 years, as 100% foreign participation is now allowed for quadruple A rated construction firms.

The American foreign firms can be registered as regular contractors and will no longer have to comply with the old requirement of a per-project basis construction permit. –