Philippine maintenance, repair and overhaul firm Dornier Technology has benefited from the sudden recovery in inbound passenger traffic from South Korea. Dornier Technology has won contracts for line maintenance from three Korean low-cost carriers that have resumed services to the Philippines, namely: Air Busan, Air Seoul and Jeju Air.
Air Busan is operating from Seoul Incheon to Kalibo, the gateway to the Philippines’ famous resort island of Boracay, using Airbus A320s and A321s. Air Seoul is also serving the route, using A321s; while Jeju Air is operating from Seoul Incheon to Bohol’s Panglao International Airport using Boeing 737-800s.
Dornier Technology Chief Operating Officer Joseph Espiritu says the Philippine market is very strong for South Korean carriers, because it is a popular leisure destination in close proximity to peninsula South Korea. There are also many Koreans living in the Philippines, so the airlines benefit from having a mix of leisure and visit friends and relatives (VFR) traffic, he says. VFR traffic was the first segment to recover from the pandemic.
Korea’s close proximity to the Philippines means South Korean carriers are mostly serving the Philippines using short-haul narrowbody aircraft such as A320s and 737s, says Espiritu. He says Dornier Technology is popular with foreign carriers because it is the Philippines’ largest independent MRO organisation. “We serve multiple international and domestic airline customers. We have achieved cost savings through ‘economies of scale’ and are able to pass on those savings to our customers, making us a very price competitive line maintenance organisation,” said Espiritu. “Dornier Technology has a depth and breadth of experience, which means we can serve airlines that operate different aircraft types. We can also provide value-added services, such as warehousing and logistics for aircraft spare parts.”
Dornier Technology has nearly 200 employees and plans to increase its workforce to 250 by year-end to meet the growth of its line and base maintenance business. The company does airframe heavy maintenance, otherwise known as base maintenance, at Clark International Airport outside Manila. It has nine line maintenance stations: Bohol, Caticlan, Cebu, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, Kalibo, Manila and Puerto Princesa.
Besides the rebound in international inbound passenger traffic, Dornier Technology has benefited from the strong rebound in domestic passenger traffic which is now higher than pre-COVID levels. “Filipinos like to travel and we have many good destinations to explore here in the Philippines. Now that there are no travel restrictions, people are taking the opportunity to travel again,” Espiritu said.
Dornier Technology’s domestic line maintenance customers include Airbus A320 operator Royal Air and ATR operators AirSwift and Sunlight Express. Espiritu says Dornier Technology aims to open a tenth line station this year and by the end of 2025 have 15 line stations in the Philippines.