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Ameco looks to expand third party MRO work

As it reaches its 30th year in operation, Beijing-based MRO firm Ameco is on a mission to grow its footprint — both locally and globally.

For one, the company, a joint-venture between Air China and Lufthansa, hopes to grow its pool of third-party clients in the coming year.

The company recently rebranded — it was previously known as Ameco Beijing, but has removed its last name to reflect its increasingly global presence.

Speaking to FlightGlobal at the Aviation Expo China in Beijing, Ameco chief marketing officer Zhu Xiao says his company stands ready to “capture all the opportunities” available in 2020.

Next year will mark the fifth year since the “New Ameco”, as Zhu puts it, was created. In 2015, Ameco Beijing, as it was then known, merged with Air China Technics, and consequently grew its maintenance bases within China.

Apart from Beijing, the company has maintenance facilities in Chongqing, Chengdu, Tianjin, Hohhot, Shanghai, Guiyang, Wuhan, as well as Hangzhou.

Zhu tells FlightGlobal the company sees growth potential in the engines market: “At present, we have many clients [from Asia and Europe] for the engines. Maybe next year, we will expand our service to North America. We will do [also] something about engines in the Russian market,” Zhu reveals.

He was, however, quick to point out that Ameco was not going to solely focus on engine MRO, stressing that Ameco’s strategy for the coming year was still on providing “one-stop solutions” for its airline clients, from aircraft MRO, to engines and landing gears.

Cirium data reveals that Asian carriers make up the bulk of Ameco’s engine business. Two European airlines— Azerbaijan Airlines and Jet2.com — also send their Rolls-Royce RB211 engines to Ameco for maintenance work.

For its heavy maintenance business, Zhu believes Ameco has “the chance to get more workload from our legacy customers”, as their fleets grow in the coming years. It is also hoping to grow the ratio of third-party clients, which shrunk after the 2015 merger with Air China Technics.

According to Zhu, Ameco used to handle about 80% third-party work for aircraft heavy maintenance in the past. Post-merger, Zhu says overall third-party work — including engines and heavy maintenance — accounts for only about a third of its annual turnover.

“This year, we find the ratio going up. Next year, we hope that it will be higher,” says Zhu, who declined to go into specific targets.

Ameco is currently 75% owned by Air China, with Lufthansa taking the remaining 25%. The change in shareholding came after the merger with Air China Technics. Before that, Air China took 60%, with Lufthansa taking the rest.

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