General Electric Engine Services (GEES) has shut down its joint venture overhaul operation in Xiamen, China, less than three years after opening the facility.

A GE official says GEES Xiamen shipped its last CFM International CFM56-3 engine last month, leaving the plant "mostly empty" and with module repair and general support services only. The engine overhaul and repair facility opened in June 2001 as part of a joint venture between GEES, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Aviation Industry and Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering.

GEES has moved some overhauls from Xiamen to its Malaysian facility, and some of its Asian carrier accounts are being picked up by competitors. The Xiamen plant focused on Chinese carriers, including China Eastern, Hainan and Xiamen Airlines.

An official at German engine maintenance company MTU says its Zhuhai, China, plant aims to add CFM56-3 overhaul capabilities later this year. MTU Zhuhai opened earlier this year, offering an International Aero Engines V2500-A1/A5 overhaul capability. It serves joint venture partner China Southern, but is pursuing CFM56 and V2500 work from other Chinese carriers.

Others likely to benefit include Snecma Services, which overhauls CFM56-3s in Chengdu, China, in a joint venture with China Southwest Airlines and in Taiwan in a joint venture with China Airlines. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries overhauls CFM56-3s in Japan.

GEES had planned to add CFM56-5B and CFM56-7 overhaul capabilities at Xiamen. But the GE official says these plans were cancelled as competition in the region became fierce and there were not enough engines to support all the vendors.

The official adds: "GE is a global company. They have other facilities. They don't want to put much capability in China right nowÉ [Therefore the Xiamen] business has changed. They don't do overhaul anymore. They only keep support capability."

Source: Flight International