Pinay aircraft mechanics at par with world's best
() - September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Something in Janice del Rosario’s demeanor says she is not an ordinary 23-year-old woman. She speaks of fixing the electrical wirings of wide-body jets and how she jumped from high school to become what she is now – a young world-class aircraft mechanic.

Like Janice, 24-year-old Luisa del Guiño is also a Mechanic A who signs off to clear a commercial plane for take-off and who takes pride in having worked for six months in Munich three years ago to further hone her skills. Her work ethic has inspired even her German counterparts.

Then there is Aileen Tribo, a 26-year-old former psychology major who does not regret having chosen a career in avionics. Now, she is one step away from being a certified top-notch aircraft mechanic.

Meet the Filipinas who are making a name for themselves in what used to be considered a man’s job and joining the world’s best in aviation services. They are part of the 2,700 workforce of Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP), the country’s only globally competitive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company. Incidentally, they are considered some of the best aviation workers in the whole world.

Now celebrating its 10th year in the business, LTP is a joint venture between Lufthansa Technik – a German MRO provider – and MacroAsia Corp. – a local aviation services company owned by tycoon Dr. Lucio C. Tan. Lufthansa Technik AG holds a majority 51 percent share.

A key element in LTP’s success is its partnership with MacroAsia Corp., which shares Lutfthansa Technik’s passion for bringing its world-class services to the global market. LTP is located in an export processing zone which helps in ensuring timely and cost-efficient importation of materials – a vital element in any MRO company’s operations.

Last year, the company earned revenues of $226 million. Among Lufthansa Technik Group’s majority-owned companies, LTP currently leads in terms of revenues and is number two overall among Lufthansa Technik companies worldwide.

Biggest asset

Through the MTP, LTP taps graduates of the country’s top aeronautics schools. MTP is a six-month program composed of classroom and hands-on basic aircraft maintenance courses conducted by German and Filipino instructors from LTP. 

Until 2007, the company also partnered with DualTech which trains over a thousand scholars from the poor sectors of society each year. Through its partnership with over a hundred companies, the center develops the scholars for eventual employment.

In the last six years, at least 900 young Filipinos graduated from the MTP where they trained in airframe and power plant, avionics, structures and cabin works. On the average, LTP spent almost $5,000 for each participant.

In 2007, LTP put in more than $5,000 for each of the 16 batches lasting for four months, involving a total of 400 participants in the DualTech training program. Such investments changed the lives of the students who now look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

LTP president and CEO Bernhard Krueger-Sprengel explains that being in the MRO business entails huge investments in people because they ensure that every plane that leaves their facility is fit to fly.

“In our industry, we put the highest premium on safety and reliability, which is why we consider our people as our biggest assets. On their hands depend the well-being of air travelers,” he says.  

Certified world-class

There is a training school within the LTP compound – Lufthansa Technical Training Philippines (LTTP) – which is directly linked to the Lufthansa Technik Training hub based in Hamburg, Germany.

LTTP has 24 instructors – all of whom are Filipinos – who teach various modules ranging from basic instruction to management training. The classrooms include virtual aircraft displays and shops that hone the students’ hand skills.

To become a certified world-class Mechanic A at LTP takes up to eight years of extensive training that includes maintenance program modules, task-based modules and aircraft type rating modules. LTP spends an average US$ 30,000 on every individual it hones to become a top-notch mechanic.

LTP vice president for human resources Teresa Fajardo says that for LTP mechanics, learning is a constant process since they are required to undergo continuation training every two years to cover human factor, safety and procedure-based subjects.

Important, indeed, that LTP’s aviation workers are fully equipped because they service some of the world’s biggest airlines which send their planes to Manila for MRO works.

LTP vice president for sales and marketing Dominik Wiener-Silva says servicing planes, which carry thousands of air travelers all over the world, requires a high degree of specialization among those who do carry out MRO.

Aside from bringing in major international airlines plus the dollars that help the Philippine economy, LTP has been providing jobs for thousands of Filipino aviation workers who benefit from the top-notch training the company provides, putting them at par with the world’s best.

More importantly, LTP and its crew of dedicated Filipino workers are putting the Philippines on the global aviation map and securing the country’s position as a top world destination for aircraft MRO services.

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