Engine-maker CFM International is proceeding with plans to turn shareholder Snecma's engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) joint-venture with Air China into a CFM engine MRO joint venture.

CFM International president and CEO Eric Bachelet confirmed to ATI on the sidelines of the Zhuhai Airshow that the engine maker is taking over Snecma's stake in the Chinese MRO.

The engine MRO is based in Sichuan province's capital Chengdu and Bachelet says the business will remain a Chinese joint venture with Air China continuing to hold the other stake.

China is an important market to CFM International because there are currently around 1,800 CFM56 engines in the country, he adds.

Snecma started the joint venture several years ago and it was originally with China Southwest Airlines but that carrier was later folded into Air China.

Since then CFM International's two owners - Snecma and GE - have agreed that for future engines, such as the Leap-X, CFM International will play a greater role in after-sales services than it has traditionally.

Until now operators of CFM56 engines have gone to GE, Snecma or third-party MRO service providers.

The engine MRO in China appears set to become the first under the CFM International banner.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news