Daniel Galea, Chief Operating Officer (COO) was interviewed on Business Agenda Issue 34, the official publication of the Malta Business Bureau. Daniel has been with the Company for many years and grew into his current role over the span of his career with Medavia. He was at the forefront in creating Medavia Technics, to encompass all the technical sections of the Company and provide the client with a complete package of services under one roof.
1. Can you give me a brief history of Medavia and Medavia Technics?
Mediterranean Aviation Company Limited had its beginnings in 1978, marking this year its 40th Anniversary, originally set up as a dedicated link between Europe and the remote airfields of the oil and gas industries in Northern Africa. Today known as Medavia, it has evolved into a world leading specialist aviation organisation.
In addition to offering second-to-none cost effective MRO works, the Company provides a variety of other services including: Aircraft Charter Brokerage, Aircraft Operations, as well as Ground Handling.
Medavia Technics, comprising of Part 145 Maintenance, Part 21J Design & Part M CAMO, work together to provide a wide range of services to cover every need of the client. Medavia Technics is also highly experienced in the establishment & operation of line maintenance stations inclusive of the technical support in the field under normal & AOG situations.
It is able to offer heavy base maintenance, full refurbishments & modifications, painting jobs & many other services at its state-of-the-art hangar facility geographically located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea – Malta.
2. What would you say have been your main philosophies and strategies that got you to where you are now? Have these changed at all with the growth of the company?
The strongest strength of Medavia Technics has always been the experience deriving from its own resources and assets complimenting each other. That being said, we have been aggressive into penetrating the existing market, that is, maintaining those aircraft types that we were already experienced on. Going forward as well, we have been able to diversify into new aircraft types like the Bombardier Q400s and the ATR series, creating a new maintenance concept for the regional turbo prop market in Malta. Medavia Technics production hours cultivated an increase of 80% year on year for the past two years.
3. What have been the biggest challenges and opportunities you’ve experienced so far in Malta? Were there any particular stumbling blocks that you came across?
Two main challenges that we’ve experienced so far in Malta are recruitment and maintaining the competitive edge. The current situation in the country is leading to increasing demand for foreign skilled employees. This needs to be coupled with sufficient training and increased motivation for the established workforce base. Attracting young newcomers to the job market through apprenticeship schemes and internships will help to address future challenges allowing them to grow within the company and fitting well with the team.
Given that Medavia has been operating from Malta for the past forty years it automatically re-affirms that we constantly experience new opportunities for our business segments, to mention an example, its strategic location acting as a gateway between Africa and Europe has always played a pivotal role for our commercial growth.
4. Do you think the significant increase in air traffic through the airport has had a positive effect on company growth as a whole? Which have been the biggest areas of growth?
Not directly, in view that our core business is a niche market there is no direct relationship with tourism seasonality and air traffic variations. However, indirectly it certainly helps having the Maltese islands well connected with many other cities, mainly for logistical purposes and so on.
Our biggest areas of growth have been within the aircraft maintenance sector, with revenues sales registering an overall increase of 180% and including positive results within the Ground Handling section.
5. What are the most typical services you offer through your Medavia Technics division? Which would you say are your areas of specialism?
Our 7,000 square meter maintenance facility based in Malta is supported by a highly skilled workforce. Our location and expertise allow us to be highly responsive to each and every request, giving us the ability to react quickly and effectively to each and every Customer, Project and Company demand.
Medavia Technics offers a wide range of services within the aircraft maintenance industry such as Base and Line Maintenance, backed up with a number of workshops that cover up to overhaul capabilities such as Wheels, Batteries and Non-destructive testing. Additionally, we also focus in the design organisation by offering tailored services such as external liveries, special mission equipment installations, flight conditions and permit to fly, including engineering support.
So definitely our area of specialisation is the technical aspect of the aviation industry as elaborated further on above.
6. Are there any particular areas that the company is looking to grow or introduce in the near future? Do you predict any increase in demand for any of your services?
Medavia in general aims to continue providing its services at a high level of standard, whilst widening and further developing them. From the technical perspective, the Part-145 maintenance just recently added a new aircraft type on its scope of approval, the ATR series, making the number of aircraft approvals go up to 10. In the near future we will focus on developing additional capabilities within the workshops in order to be able to support more effectively such products whilst under maintenance. Additionally, we are also working with expanding our footprint by opening line maintenance stations abroad to support our customers. Through the design point of view, we will also strive to develop and strengthen further our existing scope whilst giving special attention to specific projects with additional focus into the research and development.
7. What do you think are the major goals for the company moving forward now?
Given the likelihood that the positive projections for 2018 will continue well into 2019, it is envisaged that the increased business will affect all areas. There is likely to be more direct focus on the new and existing charter market and for the MRO to develop further into the regional turbo prop market, as elaborated earlier on. Medavia seeks to invest further in the work force and the required technical training to be well versed for the upcoming challenges.