Home' Asian Aviation : AAV June 2016 Contents 16 AsianAviation | June 2016
“No one would have thought 10 years ago that Seletar would be
what it is today ”, Leong told A AV. “ The Singapore Economic Devel-
opment Board should get the credit for that and foreseeing the future
to some extent, and realising that business aviation will continue to
grow. Not only are we seeing an increase in aircraft maintenance
activity from the Southeast Asian market, but also strong demand
from China and even Europe and the United States”, Leong added.
Leong, who celebrates his first year in the job in June, said Hawker
Pacific remained committed to Singapore as its base, despite the
lack of space for expansion.
He believes the city-state’s efforts to provide skilled jobs for its
people will only benefit the company in the future. There is some
friction with the government from time to time over the company ’s
hiring of highly trained foreign technicians, but that is normal for any
small country and Leong believes the government is working hard
to provide more training.
That lack of space and the ability to provide more skilled jobs for
Singaporeans actually go hand in hand at Hawker Pacific, according
to Leong, who says “space is the thing that keeps me up at night.
“I really do have some sleepless nights thinking about how to
manage with the aircraft coming in here. Right now I have 22 pro-
jects and I have 150 people, 80 of whom are engineers, and the
projects are all heavy checks, not light work”, Leong explains. “Re-
sources we can find. I can have another 100 people in here tomorrow,
but I don’t have the space”.
Leong also says it’s not just a matter of borrowing some space
from a neighbour either, because the industry is so regulated in
Singapore and “these are the constraints I have to work under ”.
The vice president for Asia also explained that if he did have addi-
tional space he could easily hire skilled Singaporeans because “we
have demonstrated with our numbers that we can generate more
man-hours and bring in more people so they are aware of that, but
of course demand is greater than supply so who’s going to get it we
don’t know ”. Leong said the government may make a decision by the
end of the year on giving the company additional land.
“ The whole idea for us and for Singapore is to increase the number
of jobs for Singaporeans", Leong adds. He said the company has
already exceeded one specific class of trained foreign workers that
entailed a visit from the country ’s Ministry of Manpower and that dealt
with foreign technicians trained in working on Embraer technology.
“ That is the need for us because these are the people that have
been trained and they are here to offer their services, but the MOM
came to us and asked why we hired so many foreigners. I think our
HR people did a great job in explaining that you find me a local
engineer who can do that and we’ll hire them. Why would we not
want to hire locally when it will bring down the cost base”?
Hawker Pacific is also trying to work directly with Singapore’s pol-
ytechnics and universities as a way to bring in local technicians for
its expanding maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations.
“ There are multiple advantages to working with a market leader
like Hawker Pacific, especially given the opportunity to work with
and learn from the very best in the business", Leong said in an
earlier statement. “Ours is a business that is growing, and growing
rapidly, with a bright future ahead and positions at Hawker Pacific
are in high demand".
In addition to its Singapore facility, Hawker Pacific has operations
in China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia and
is one of the largest FBO operators in Australia.
Leong also explains that the lack of space in Singapore has seen
him travel to different parts of Asia in recent weeks and months to
expand the brand and scout out possible locations for new MROs.
“Singapore will remain the hub, but certainly we are on the lookout
across all the different ASEAN countries and we just cannot deny
the fact that while we should remain here, we need to be looking
at the space constraints and get the brand out there", Leong said.
He said the lack of space and a growing business aviation sector
means Hawker Pacific will also enhance its supply chain by storing
more and more spares in Asia instead of fighting time zones and
TWICE THE FUN
Hawker Pacific Asia said recently its Singapore-based operation
completed the region’s first double-wing removal and reinstallation on
a Dassault Falcon 2000LX, a project that normally would have been
conducted at the manufacturer ’s facility. Dassault Aviation and Hawker
Pacific Asia agreed to undertake the project in Singapore to “ensure
minimal downtime and costs to the customer ”, said Louis Leong, vice
president for Asia at Hawker Pacific.
The project was completed in March 2016 and saw engineers
from Hawker Pacific Asia work with Dassault Aviation’s engineers to
ensure that all safety and compliance regulations were adhered to.
While performing a six-year heavy maintenance inspection, engineers
discovered a need for more maintenance work that necessitated the
removal and reinstallation of both wings. Working with a core team of six
engineers, Hawker Pacific Asia also locally fabricated the various tools
and ground equipment required.
The 2000LX undergoing
heavy maintenance in 2016.
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