| It makes perfect sense for GMF AeroAsia to throw its hat into the ring with the growing requirements of the airlines in the Garuda Indonesia group on the one hand (Garuda, Citylink and now Sriwijaya Air since last November), but also by continuing to develop its capabilities and capacities to respond to the region's other operators. In addition, Garuda's MRO division is making no attempt to hide that it has set itself the objective of becoming one of the ten largest maintenance providers in the world from the start of the next decade.
With this in mind, GMF AeroAsia has been strengthening its partnership with AFI KLM E&M over the last few months to develop its capabilities on engines and components but also on the organisational part for airframe maintenance. In exchange, Air France and KLM will be sending some of their aircraft (747-400s and A330s) to Jakarta for major inspections.
One other major development area which has been coming to fruition since mid-August is the collaboration with Lion Air group which was announced at the start of the year and which seeks to establish a joint maintenance company on Batam island, a short hop from Singapore.
Batam Aero Technic (BAT), the MRO subsidiary of Lion Air which was created in 2013 to support the growth of the group's different fleets (Lion Air, Malindo, Thai Lion Air, Batik Air and Wings), already has significant maintenance facilities at the airport, with the capacity to accommodate up to 12 single-aisle aircraft of four widebodies at the same time. The new project involves constructing up to eight additional hangars by 2028 over a surface of 24 hectares, to meet the needs of the two main Indonesian groups, with capacity of up to 16 additional narrowbodies.
This major project, which is estimated at over 700 million dollars, will enable the two groups to rationalise their expenditure and generate synergies for their own fleets. It is also intended to reduce by at least 10% the number of maintenance operations carried out by the two groups abroad, while increasing the capacities offered to other operators based in the region. GMF AeroAsia and BAT are also finalising an agreement with Michelin for the construction of an aviation tyre retread factory near Jakarta.
But GMF AeroAsia is also seeking partnerships to enable it to set up abroad, with plans in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai South), Australia and Bangladesh. The market would appear to be the most promising in this third country, with direct demand from the Bangladeshi airlines which were already customers of GMF's services in Indonesia, i.e. Biman, Regent Airways, US Bangla and NovoAir.
Initially, this set-up was only intended to involve deploying qualified personnel on site, as the local partner already has maintenance facilities, but the Garuda Indonesia MRO division is not ruling out investing more in it one day, especially if a second hangar were to be built to meet growing demand.