Boeing is making its much heralded move into the maintenance business with its plans to begin a conversion and maintenance work in early May at its new Aerospace Support Center at Kelly AFB near San Antonio, Texas.

Kelly is to be closed by the US Department of Defense in 2001, and Boeing has announced that it will be its first company-owned maintenance base. Boeing will introduce a DC-10 conversion line at Kelly in May, which will enable capacity to be boosted for the FedEx DC-10 to MD-10 freighter conversion contract. Work is already being undertaken by a Dimension Aviation under a subcontract in Phoenix Arizona. Maintenance of military Boeing C-17s by the company will begin at Kelly soon after conversion work on the DC-10 begins.

The new centre at Kelly will also bid for maintenance and modification work on large military aircraft, "...and selected commercial cargo modifications", the company says. Target aircraft include the Boeing KC-135 and DC-10, KC-10 and MD-11. The aim is to achieve a 50:50 military/civil business mix. Boeing says that the airbase offers "important cap- abilities", including hangars with room for several widebodies.

Source: Flight International