Aircraft maintenance is being targeted by Lockheed Martin as the remaining sector where the US aerospace giant now intends to bolster its business with acquisitions, according to Lockheed Aeronautics president Mickey Blackwell.

After a period of consolidation, Lockheed Martin now has a growing US maintenance business based at Greenville, North Carolina, a military maintenance and upgrade plant in Argentina, a joint venture with Hungarian airline Malev and a joint venture with China Southern and Hutchison Wampoa in Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (GAMECO). While the Hungarian operation is struggling, the other concerns appear to be making good progress.

Blackwell says that with the $11.6billion acquisition of Northrop Grumman, which still requires government approval, the company will have achieved critical mass in all areas of defence electronics, space, information systems and aeronautics. "Maintenance is the one area left where we will still make acquisitions," he says.

"It's our ambition to provide maintenance for every Lockheed Martin aircraft," says Blackwell, while pointing out that through operations such as GAMECO, the company maintains a wide range of US and European airliners.

Lockheed Martin is also moving fast to grow the current $800million businesses organically. In the USA, the company is competing for a huge slice of military maintenance business, while in Argentina it has given a commitment to the Government to expand operations of its Cordoba plant into the commercial-aircraft arena.

Source: Flight International