Air Works moves into OEM aircraft painting business

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UK aircraft painting company Air Livery has taken over Aero Technique Espace (ATE) - a French painting specialist with close links to Airbus and ATR - to grow its business with the manufacturers.

The Norwich-based company, which is a subsidiary of Indian MRO provider Air Works, acquired ATE from previous owner Robert Wasilewski.

ATE, which employs around 150 staff members, paints aircraft on behalf of Airbus and ATR at its main base at Chateauroux. But it also has a facility with separate bays for narrowbody and regional aircraft on the doorstep of the airframers' assembly lines in Toulouse.

The site in Chateauroux has recently been modernised to fulfil environmental regulations, with ATE becoming a qualified "green" painting services provider for Airbus and ATR.

The hangars comprise two bays for widebodies up to the A340, a narrowbody bay, and separate bay for regional or business aircraft.

Air Livery says that the ATE acquisition added 'green' painting capability to its existing network, which includes facilities in Norwich, Manchester, Southend and at East Midlands airport as well as in Bratislava, Slovakia and Hosur, India.

The Chateauroux site is to become the group's centre for environmentally friendly painting. But another main objective for the acquisition is to grow the group's business with Airbus and ATR.

"We hope to further develop on these relationships and increase our service footprint with both OEMs," says Vivek Gour, Air Works' managing director.

Air Livery cooperated with ATE over the past 15 years. The acquisition was thus the next "natural" step in their relationship, says Julian Duffen, Air Livery's managing director.

Christian Lalane has been appointed ATE's managing director. Wasilewski will leave the company after a stint as advisor for the transition period. ATE will retain its own name.