Philippine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) firm Dornier Technology has benefited from the sudden recovery in inbound passenger traffic from Korea.

Air Busan, Air Seoul and Jeju Air have resumed services to the Philippines and appointed Dornier Technology for line maintenance.

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.

Picture from Dornier Technology shows line maintenance personnel in front of Jeju Air’s 737. Jeju Air was the first international airline to resume services to Bohol. 

Dornier Technology, chief operating officer, Joseph Espiritu, says the Philippine market is very strong for Korean carriers, because it is a popular leisure destination in close proximity to peninsula 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 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,” says 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,” says Espiritu.

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.

And 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.

Espiritu says: “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.”

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 10th line station this year and by the end of 2025 have 15 line stations in the Philippines.

Feature picture, from Dornier Technology, shows a Jeju Air 737 parked at a boarding bridge at Bohol’s Panglao International Airport.

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