Aircraft maintenance company Magnetic MRO is considering relocating its base from Estonia as restrictions on hiring foreign workforce and the tax environment are hindering the company's growth, CEO Risto Mäeots told weekly Eesti Ekspress.
Mäeots said that the company was experiencing major problems bringing foreign top specialists, customers and investors to Estonia.
"Our client was treated the same way as an illegal and was told 'Welcome to Estonia!'" Mäeots told the weekly. "I was so ashamed of the Republic of Estonia that I spent the night at the passenger terminal with the client's pilots."
Mäeots said that Magnetic MRO is unable to function without bringing in specialists from abroad. He said that the company would like to use local specialists, but none are available as aircraft have never been painted or their engines serviced in Estonia before.
"If things go on this way, it is only a matter of time until I make a proposal to relocate the headquarters of Magnetic MRO from Tallinn to somewhere where conditions are more amicable, such as London or Shanghai," he continued. "Somewhere where you can get a visa, where people are allowed to enter the country to work, where there are tax incentives, and so on."
Magnetic MRO is a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified total technical care and asset management organisation offering integrated MRO services.
The company's 2017 revenue grew 79% to €90.9 million, with profits increasing 60.4% to nearly €4 million. 21% was earned from basic maintenance services and 79% from other business operations, it can be seen from the company's annual report.
The company invested €8.1 million in fixed assets last year, including the purchase of plane engines. It operated with a workforce of 330 people, with labour costs totalling €10.3 million.
Thorough or base maintenance of the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 aircraft types as well as the painting of planes are conducted in hangars located at Tallinn Airport. Separate services offered include the sale of aircraft maintenance knowhow and route maintenance service, i.e. maintenance between flights at a number of international airports.
In January 2018, investment company BaltCap, the owner of Magnetic MRO, sold 100% of its holding in the company to China's Guangzhou Hangxin Aviation Technology, marking the largest Chinese investment in Estonia to date.
Editor: Aili Vahtla