I spent a few days in Beijing last week for IATA's annual general meeting.
Together with colleagues from the Singapore and UK office, we produced three Airline Business dailies with coverage of the AGM as well as exclusive interviews with various airline chiefs.
If you haven't seen any of our Airline Business Daily, you should. Here are the links to the digital copies:
Day 1: http://rbiuk.ceros.com/abdn/iata-day1/page/1
Day 2: http://rbiuk.ceros.com/abdn/iata-day2/page/1
Day 3: http://rbiuk.ceros.com/abdn/iata-day3/page/1
I also took the chance to arrange for a visit to Ameco Beijing's facility at Beijing Capital International Airport. The MRO is a 60-40 joint venture between Air China and Lufthansa.
The drive to and from the facility was long and tedious thanks to the monstrous jams on Beijing highways. I hear the city has some 5 million cars.
There, besides having a short meeting with Ameco Beijing's media team, I was also brought on a tour of the sprawling facility. It's almost like an Ameco town, complete with hostels and canteens for students studying at its aviation college.
Its facility includes four hangars that can handle 15 widebodies and 11 narrowbodies. The latest is a Boeing 747 hangar for heavy maintenance and painting. There is also a hangar that can take the A380, a four-bay maintenance hangar and a painting hangar.
It even has its own engine, component and gear workshop - which looked much like an IKEA store. I wasn't able to visit the A380 hangar because it was a 15-minute car ride from the main compound and I'll also need to get further security clearance from the airport.
What I did see however, was the four bay hangar where an Air China 777, a United Airways 747 and a Grandstar Cargo 747 were undergoing maintenance. (sadly though i was only allowed to picture Air China's plane)
My guide also gave me a quick peek of the Ameco Aviation
College, where students
go through civil aircraft maintenance basic training, basic skill and type
Overall it was a hectic but fruitful five days in the Chinese capital. Do visit Flightglobal.com for more stories filed at the IATA AGM.