October 08, 2012
Credit: Photo credit: Marat Manieiev
Rupa Haria Tallinn, Estonia, and Jens Flottau Frankfurt
Eastern Europe has been one of the biggest growth markets for air transport in recent years, and signs are that is not going to change anytime soon. The local MRO providers will benefit and expand their capabilities.
“We have positioned ourselves as the first-choice alternative to global brands,” says FL Technics CEO Jonas Butautis. “Our customers don't want to be working with the big guys.”
FL Technics has seen huge growth in the past few years and Butautis does not see the trend ending soon. The MRO provider views the former Soviet Union countries as its home market, but it does not maintain Eastern-built aircraft—yet. Butautis says his company is looking at adding Sukhoi Superjet capabilities, for both commercial and political reasons.
So far, it is mainly Airbus and Boeing aircraft services that the company has in its portfolio—C checks, component services, engine and line maintenance. While FL Technics sees itself as being already cost-competitive, its quick response time and efficient processes are its selling points to airlines.
Based on its success in Eastern Europe, FL Technics is looking at other regions to fuel expansion. “We are good at emerging markets,” Butautis says. The company has signed its first few contracts in Asia, which will be a focus area in the short- to medium-term. But it is also starting to look at Latin America and the Middle East, particularly in the fields of component services, line maintenance, engines and engineering work. For example, FL Technics has started offering line maintenance in Dacca, Bangladesh, and has “similar things in the pipeline,” Butautis says.
Money is no constraint in the expansion. “You don't need billions in MRO; tens of millions are sufficient and we have access to that kind of cash,” the FL Technics CEO points out.
In 2011, FL Technics grew its revenues by 90% and by another 80% in the first half of 2012. “We can double each year,” Butautis says, and he can see the point in a few years where FL Technics' annual revenues will exceed $1 billion. He declines to disclose the company's current revenues, however.