Joramco’s CEO shares insights on the company’s recent ‘transformation'

The company recently underwent a rebranding exercise following the majority stake acquisition by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE)
Jeff Wilkinson, CEO, Joramco.
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Jeff Wilkinson, CEO, Joramco.

Following Dubai Aerospace Enterprise’s (DAE) majority stake acquisition (80%) in Joramco back in 2016, the Jordanian MRO specialist has been in a state of transformation. In addition to an extensive rebranding exercise and the adoption of a new corporate identity, the company has made great strides towards improving its core service.

Thanks to the continuous support from DAE, Joramco has not only refurbished its existing facilities but has also expanded with new infrastructure and the addition of new tooling equipment.

Coupled with the company’s geographical advantage of being at the mid-point between Europe and the Middle East, the recent improvements played a vital factor in Joramco’s performance over the past couple of years. While continuing to draw business from across the Gulf and India, the MRO specialist has also garnered significant business from the European market as of late.

There is a huge leverage based around the geographical location. It is just a fact that we are three hours from Europe, three hours from the Middle East. Perfect for capturing the European market and maintaining what we already have in the Gulf,” comments Jeff Wilkinson, CEO of Joramco.

The CEO went on to explain that a number of European carriers have begun to search for more cost-efficient alternatives for their maintenance, over what is available in their home market.

The fact that Joramco has at the same time focused on developing its cabin shop capabilities, has left the company in a position to capitalise on the opportunity.

“One thing as the European customers have come into play is that they are quite specific with their cabin specifications and what they expect. So we focused on infrastructure improvements around additional equipment to ensure the cabin capabilities are there; new leather machines, carpet cutting machines, and structural components, etc,” comments Wilkinson.

As a result of recent improvements, Joramco has experienced a 30% increase in year-on-year revenues over 2018, as well as a doubling of its net profits. Servicing roughly 160 heavy inputs in this year alone, the MRO firm reportedly had at one point seven national flight carriers present in their facilities.
Another key area that Joramco has been focused on is adding new capabilities to service different aircraft variants. One of its recent additions is geared towards the Boeing 787 aircraft, an aircraft that is widely used in the Middle East region, as well as by Royal Jordanian, which holds a 20% stake in Joramco.

The company also secured the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for the Boeing 737 MAX. Currently, the firm is moving to secure approval for the Airbus A320neo, as well as the Boeing 777.

“A320neo is next. The A320neo is a huge aircraft market as a lot of the carriers in this region are now moving towards the Neo … Boeing 777 — we will probably achieve approval around January of next year,”
comments  Wilkinson

To get the certification, it is a long process … you have to first acquire the specific tooling for the aircraft, but then comes the training of the staff. The team has to be trained on the new technology, which is typically a 12 to 16-week course.”

The CEO shares that in the case of the Boeing 787, Joramco worked closely with Etihad Technical Training to bring its teams up to speed on the aircraft’s maintenance requirements.

Such partnerships have been instrumental for Joramco in addressing both the professional development of their existing staff, as well as the acquisition of fresh talent. In the case of the latter, the company maintains a long-standing collaboration with Air Service Training (AST), an aviation training organisation based in Perth, Scotland.

The two parties work closely together to operate the Joramco Academy, an independent school for aircraft maintenance engineering training. Launched back in 2007, the EASA Part 147 accredited institution delivers technical and practical education to the standards of IR Part 66.

With an annual graduating batch of 20 students, which primarily consists of local Jordanian talent who are typically absorbed into Joramco, the academy has at any given time, 80 trainees at various stages of the programme. Not all students are from Jordan however.

A sizeable portion of the student body includes candidates from countries, such as Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, who upon completion of the programme, return to their respective countries for employment.

When pressed on what the market can expect from Joramco as we head into 2019, the CEO shares that the transformative journey for the company is still not yet complete. In addition to its goal to achieve Boeing 777 maintenance approval in the first quarter of next year, the MRO company will continue to develop its infrastructure with new capabilities.

The first of such expansions are already underway with the construction of a dedicated paint hanger but the team at Joramco are already searching for new opportunities to better their core service.

“We have made significant inroads into the development of the staff and the change of the infrastructure, as well as the rebranding of the company, but now it’s a case of developing — pushing more down into the shop floor. This means improving turnaround times and the efficiency of workforce … transformation is never complete,” concludes Wilkinson.

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