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.
One of FL Technics' strengths is its broad customer base. Transaero, its largest customer, is responsible for just 8% of revenues. Lufthansa Technik or Turkish Technics have the advantage of a much larger in-house customer, but that also leads to greater dependence.
To expand its portfolio, FL Technics is looking at adding capabilities for Sukhoi Superjet 100 work. Butautis argues that Russia is putting a lot of effort into the program and that there will be a market for MRO service, too. “So why not support it?” he asks. In addition to gaining access to another market niche, such a move would give the company somewhat of a political boost in Russia, its biggest market.
As Eastern European airlines add the Bombardier CRJ200 to their fleets, that aircraft type is another growth opportunity for the company.
Estonia could become another narrowbody maintenance hub as Air Maintenance Estonia (AME) realizes its strategy for growth with a new state-of-the-art hangar facility at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport.
With just one bay in its existing hangar, the MRO knew it needed to build another hangar to expand its capacity, and when Lars-Olof Bolinder was appointed CEO in 2007, he was given the task of working with the airport management company to design the facility. The company's owners at the time, SAS Technical Services, lacked funds to realize the ambitious project, but in 2010, Baltic private equity firm BaltCap bought the MRO and signed off on the project almost immediately.
The €10.5 million ($13.5 million) construction bill was footed by the airport authority, with AME signing a 30-year lease. The finished product, designed by Ireland-based design consultant Ian Guinness, has two bays that can accommodate narrowbodies up to the Boeing 757-300, tripling AME's capacity.
AME has invested €3 million in new equipment and firmly embraced new technologies. Its tool store is fully unmanned and uses RFID for its tooling management system—it says it is the first MRO in Europe to implement the RFID provided by Omni-ID.
In addition, the tail logs at both of the new hangar's bays were custom-designed to be lifted and lowered to fit Boeing and Airbus tails. The entire design of the facility allows for a lean operation; much thought went into the location and size of key workshops, including sheet metals and heat treatment. The hangar also has a large parts store, which Bolinder concedes is “probably too big,” but it could be put to use by renting the space to customers. Bolinder stepped down as CEO last spring but remains an advisory board member.