Maintenance joint venture Ameco Beijing is finalising a major expansion plan that will see it significantly increase capacity as it taps into strong demand in the booming Chinese airline market and wins more work from international customers.

Ameco Beijing, which is 60% owned by Air China and 40% by Lufthansa, says it expects construction to begin late this year on a new four-bay hangar capable of accommodating Airbus A380s and other large widebodies.

The new hangar will be used for line maintenance and will be located near a third terminal that is due to be opened at its Beijing airport base before the Olympic Games, to be held in the Chinese capital in August 2008. Air China will transfer its operations to the new terminal.

Ameco Beijing currently has one four-bay hangar plus another dedicated to 747 work, and one dedicated to aircraft painting. The 747 hangar will be replaced because the existing facility is to be demolished as part of the airport expansion project.

General manager Hans Schmitz says that, although the expansion is a major project for Ameco Beijing, studies are already under way for a further enlargement of operations beyond 2008. “Given the plans of Air China to add 20 aircraft each year into their fleet, we expect we are going to start with the next hangar project for line maintenance shortly after we have started at the new hangar,” he says. “That is our prediction and we are in discussion with the airport and the government in order to make a reservation for appropriate land.”

Ameco Beijing was first set up as a 15-year joint venture but last year Air China and Lufthansa extended the partnership for 25 years. Last week Ameco Beijing secured its biggest ever single contract with a North American customer, when United Airlines agreed to hand over heavy maintenance of its entire Boeing 777 fleet under a five-year deal valued at more than $30 million.


Lufthansa Technik


Source: Flight International