Jordan’s Joramco Sees Expansion Accelerating

 - November 29, 2021, 10:16 AM
Swiss International Airlines Airbus A321s await service at Joramco's MRO base in Amman. (Photo: Joramco)

Jordan-based MRO Joramco has come close to doubling profits in just over four years since Dubai’s DAE Engineering took a majority stake, and now it looks to expand at its home base in Amman as well as further afield.

“We remained profitable through Covid, albeit volumes were down,” recently appointed CEO Fraser Currie told AIN. “We're just about to post our highest revenue figures in the history of the company. We have targeted growth going forward in 2022. That should see us having more than doubled the revenues from when we first took over in late 2017. It's a very healthy business.”

Joramco’s engineering maintenance service revenue for 2017 totaled $47.7 million, according to DAE, whose main business as the lessor of a fleet of 425 aircraft guarantees a pipeline of work on which Joramco can draw.

“We need more hangars,” Currie said. “We need two new widebody hangars capable of taking a widebody and three narrowbodies. We're looking to expand by up to eight lines. Land is available. It's just a case of negotiating leases and building the hangars.

Former Joramco CEO Jeff Wilkinson has won promotion to a group role as CEO of DAE Engineering in Dubai, where Currie hinted future expansion could also take place.

“It's a case now of looking at the best hangar type and taking the green light on tying that in with the strategy for further bases as well," he said. "Queen Alia is the obvious growth opportunity for Joramco, whilst DAE Engineering is looking at a much broader strategy.”

Joramco operates under the group’s engineering division. Owned 80 percent by DAE and 20 percent by Royal Jordanian Airlines, it maintains its base at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, where it operates a facility of over 100,000 sq m. Both shareholders use Joramco for aircraft maintenance, lease return, and teardown.

Its workforce of over 1,000 people gives it a capability of over one million man-hours per year, allowing it to provide airline customers in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the CIS countries with services ranging from interiors, composites, and paint to avionics.

“We're only limited by our own success at the moment,” Currie said. “We have one of the highest capacities in the near and far region: 17 lines of heavy maintenance is not insurmountable.

“At our peak, we had 60 aircraft under our control in Queen Alia,” he added. “That's now dropped to 50 because we're starting to see aircraft returning to operations, with the larger carriers that are parked with us. The widebody market is coming back very strongly.”

Currie called Joramco predominantly a Boeing and Airbus MRO, covering the Boeing 737, 787, and 777 aircraft families, Airbus A320, A330, and A340 families, and Embraer E175 and E190 families. Regulatory approvals from more than 25 aviation authorities include EASA, the FAA, Jordan’s CARC, and the UAE’s GCAA. 

“The span of approvals was very useful for us," added Currie. "Certainly, when we compare it to our published peers within the MRO market, independent advisers suggest that we have done better than most through the pandemic. We're certainly accelerating out of the pandemic quicker than any of our peers at the moment, and that is due to the scope of approvals...We're the largest independent MRO in the Middle East.”

Joramco has succeeded in attracting some major names, including Lufthansa, Ryanair, and Flydubai, for which it is managing the entry into service of the Boeing 737 Max. Currie said Joramco's geographic position has proved excellent for Europe and near Asia, as aircraft of carriers from several points on the compass underwent work as he spoke.

“Sitting in the hub of the Middle East, we're picking up a lot of the carriers locally, and then we have several Indian aircraft in the facility at the moment and an equal number of European carriers," he explained. "Like any set of pillars that our business sits on, we're pretty diversified [with] widebody, narrowbody types, customer location. We have a very balanced portfolio.”