Australian charter operator Alliance Air plans to move into the third-party maintenance, repair and overhaul business now that its maintenance arm is no longer so busy.

The carrier's managing director, Scott McMillan, says "in 2009 and 2010 we have capacity and will be in the market" to provide maintenance services on Fokker aircraft for third-party customers.

He says Alliance Air would only be interested in working on Fokker aircraft and has no interest in working on other types.

Alliance Air's maintenance arm has the experience because it already handles the heavy maintenance checks on the airline's fleet of five Fokker 50s and 10 Fokker 100s.

It has until now refrained from providing heavy maintenance services to other Fokker operators because it had until recently been too busy maintaining its own aircraft, says McMillan.

Last year Alliance added three Fokker 100s and two Fokker 50s to its operations but this year - because of the economic downturn- it has no plans to add more aircraft, he says.

The Brisbane-based carrier relies on charter work mostly from Australian mining companies.

McMillan says the mining charter business "is slowing down a bit".

He adds: "We have long-term contracts so we won't see much change just yet but we anticipate things will be a lot more difficult" in 2009.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news