LOTAMS – Aiming High
Polish LOTAMS, one of the largest and oldest MRO providers in central Europe, is pursuing its vision to further enhance its capability.
Warsaw-headquartered LOTAMS boasts a rich and varied history that began nearly a hundred years ago and has made the company what it is today – a dynamically developing MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) company, providing its services to four of the world’s ten most prosperous airlines.
The history of LOTAMS began in 1925 with the opening of the first technical base by Aerolot, and from 1929 until some ten years ago, the company was closely tied with LOT Polish Airlines.
2010 saw the most significant changes, as LOT separated its technical branch from the divisions, to form an independent body called LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services (LOTAMS). Today, the company is a part of the state-owned Polish Aviation Group that combines five aviation-related businesses.
A significant milestone for the company came in 2012 when LOTAMS became Embraer’s Authorized Service Centre for all models of ERJ and EMB aircraft, as the only authorized centre of this type in central and eastern Europe, and one of just two on the European continent.
Knowledge & experience
Adrian Subocz, Logistics Director, points out that the company is a competence centre for all E1 Embraer fleet, and plans to obtain certificates also for E2 regional jet, thus further expanding its capability.
He explains that the company provides line & base maintenance services for 9 types of airliners and cargo aircraft (Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 767, Boeing 737CL, Boeing 737NG, Boeing 737MAX, Embraer 170, Embraer 190, A320 CEO Family).
“We provide line maintenance in 8 airports in Poland annually conducting over 20,000 line maintenance tasks, and more than 100 base maintenance operations and nearly 20 aircraft painting operations in LOTAMS’ main base in Warsaw” he says.
“The latest technical inventions and techniques help to increase the efficiency and reduce Turn-Around-Time (TAT) service. This supports our general aim of achieving worldwide recognition in terms of quality and precision, in order to provide safety in-flight and on the ground.”
This objective is further supported by over 1,000 qualified and experienced aircraft mechanics, engineers, and other specialists in the technical professions. Mr Subocz himself, a technical university graduate, entered a career in aviation in 2008 at Airbus Poland, following several years abroad. Joining LOTAMS two years ago, he was put in charge of two departments, running warehousing and stores, and procurement – just several months before the pandemic.
“This was not the easiest time, believe me, but we have handled the challenges well. Apart from our two major suppliers, Embraer and Boeing, we use a network of some 100 Polish companies, and the supply chain has remained robust. We have implemented several internal measures and are set to continue towards our targets.”
Towards market leadership
Right now, LOTAMS is in the process of a major expansion. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the company has stayed firmly on track with its strategy to reinforce its position by further investing in modernisation and increased capacity.
The company is on a journey to build one of the largest ultra-modern aircraft maintenance bases in Europe, at Rzeszów Jasionka Airport. “Construction is set to start in the middle of 2022, with a view to servicing narrow and wide-body aircraft from around the world there,” says Adrian Subocz.
Ultimately, the investment in total will create some 1,000 new jobs. The entire infrastructure will consist of three hangars for servicing and repairing aircraft and one dedicated hangar for the painting of planes.
LOTAMS will be able to perform simultaneous maintenance of 4 wide-body aircraft like the twin-engine Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 5 narrow-body aircraft (e.g., the Boeing 737) or alternatively 15 narrow-body aircraft or up to 20 regional aircraft (e.g., the Embraer 195).
The location for this investment is not accidental, says Adrian Subocz. The Podkarpackie Aviation Cluster is being intensively developed, with many aviation companies, research centres, educational institutions, technical aviation schools and universities in the region.
“The investment, divided into three stages, will give us a boost to be a true leader in this part of the world. This will be supported by an increased focus on cost optimisation, improved efficiency and enhanced performance in a post-pandemic environment.”
The human force
The growing demand for technical services has shown the need to employ highly qualified specialists. Skilled employees are one of LOTAMS’s strengths and the company is set to sustain and further develop this advantage, undertaking actions to improve the standard of staff training, as well as providing support for technical schools educating future mechanics.
“Investment in infrastructure and business development is one thing, but we also must make sure that we have enough people to fill the jobs in the new facility. Therefore, we cooperate very closely with the technical schools from all over Poland.”
“Our special “Become a highly qualified aircraft mechanic” programme provides opportunities for students to practice their skills with our support while giving us a chance to have access to new talent,” acknowledges Mr Subocz, emphasising that for a company to have its own proprietary school programmes to develop future workforce is something unique in Poland.
This initiative will both help the company to staff the new 1,000 jobs available in the new facility in Rzeszów Jasionka Airport and also prepare the business for future market developments.
“We are witnessing great changes in the industry, with the application of new materials such as carbon fibre, and further changes will come as a result of the increased focus on the environment and zero emissions. Therefore, we need to invest not only in technology but also in people, to be able to handle these changes. And that is exactly what we are doing.”