Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday announced the creation of up to 350 jobs by 2014 through the creation of a four-bay hangar for aircraft that will be built by Swiss firm SR Technics, a leading global provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services at Malta International Airport.
SR Technics will commence operations at an existing hangar at the airport in 2010 until the new facility opens in early 2012.
The construction of the new maintenance facility follows six-month long talks and agreements between SR Technics, Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks, for the construction of a four-bay maintenance hangar and respective workshops, which will allow SR Technics to carry out base and heavy maintenance services on narrow-body aircraft.
The partners will also cooperate in the areas of employee education and training, mainly through the Malta College of Art, Science and Technology, Malta’s Employment and Training Corporation in close collaboration with SR Technics’ own training organisation. SR Technics anticipates that the new facility will create up to 350 jobs in Malta by 2014.
Gonzi described the investment as “a fantastic opportunity” and said SRT’s interest in Malta formed yet another step in achieving his vision for 2015, which includes establishing Malta as “a centre of excellence for high-value added industry”. Gonzi said employment in this industry is expected to be above 1,100.
The prime minister added that Malta had shown itself to be resilient economy even in the current economic crisis, by bringing high-value added activities to niche sectors such as aviation maintenance.
“This is a strong show of confidence in Malta’s potential and in its workers by companies of the calibre of SR Technics and easyJet. Their presence here will in fact compliment an already-healthy and growing aviation cluster. They join other prestigious names in the sector such as Lufthansa Technik, Rolls Royce, MCM and Medavia.”
Construction of the hangar will begin mid 2010, with completion due in early 2012. The agreements also include the option to further expand SR Technics’ maintenance operations thereafter.
Gonzi thanked finance minister Tonio Fenech for his leadership in managing the discussions with SR Technics and easyJet. The prime minister was also faced with questions from the press over allegations on Fenech, which he sidelined by focusing on the announcement of SR Technics’ investment.
Operations will initially focus on Airbus A320 aircraft and by 2012, capabilities will be extended to Boeing aircraft.
easyJet will become SR Technics’ first base load customer in Malta following the signing of an agreement between the two companies for an 11-year extension of their maintenance cooperation.
This landmark contract, offering a revenue potential of USD 1.6bn, secures easyJet as a cornerstone customer for SR Technics. easyJet is to become the first base load customer at SR Technics’ new maintenance facility located in Malta.
The new contract will see SR Technics deliver an industry-leading cost base for easyJet’s Airbus family. With a fleet of 157 Airbus aircraft, growing to 207 by 2012, it is vital for easyJet to continue reducing its maintenance cost through this landmark deal.
SR Technics will continue to provide a wide range of MRO services including line maintenance through its Europe-wide station network, light maintenance (E-Checks), base maintenance (IL-Checks) as well as component repair and overhaul. In addition, the contract will include the provision of consumables and expendables, logistic services and additional engineering services such as Part 21 Design Engineering and ACARS Data Management.
The agreement includes the development of joint continuous improvement activities to drive operational quality and achieve further cost effectiveness on a long-term basis.
Bernd Kessler, CEO of SR Technics said: “The facility in Malta will allow SR Technics to deliver its world-class MRO services from a new, highly attractive platform and to substantially increase its competitiveness in the labour-intensive airframe maintenance segment. SR Technics is listening to its customers and is developing to meet the airlines’ requirements of technical excellence paired with attractive commercial arrangements.”
Alan Camilleri, Executive Chairman of Malta Enterprise Corporation and Malta Industrial Parks Limited, welcomed SR Technics to Malta saying: “We are very pleased that a company of the calibre and international reputation of SR Technics has chosen Malta as its strategic partner. Especially in times like these, it is encouraging to see a company investing confidently with a view to long-term growth. We share this confidence in the future, and our track record shows that Malta can indeed provide exciting opportunities for investors looking for competitive cost-structures, high quality, skilled workmanship and a strategic location for business development and regional penetration.”