Ameco Beijing is seeking to attract more commercial maintenance business from the Middle East as part of a wider aim to become one of the world's top-five MROs in the next five years.
Speaking to FlightGlobal at the Dubai air show, executive vice-president and marketing chief Zhu Xiao said the Chinese company was in discussions with existing Middle Eastern customers – such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Saudia – to expand their respective partnerships.
This year, Ameco will start providing heavy maintenance for Iraqi Airways' widebody fleet. This is in addition to line maintenance in China for a range of Middle Eastern carriers, including Etihad, Qatar Airways and Saudia.
"The Middle East is one of our most important regions, and we are working with the major airlines to see what else we can help them with, be it in engine or fuselage checks," says Zhu.
Despite the large aircraft fleet of the major Gulf carriers, he admits that the Middle East "still has some way to go" to become one of Ameco's top markets in terms of revenue.
Zhu adds that, beyond Asia-Pacific, airlines from Europe and Central Asia represent some of Ameco's biggest third-party customers.
At present, "60 to 70%" of Ameco's business comes from supporting its parent company Air China, with the rest being for third parties.
Zhu says the company has targeted an even split between Air China and third-party business – a balance he believes can be struck "very soon".
In its push to be a "top-five MRO", the company has invested heavily into new, high-tech systems which it hopes will enable Ameco to transform from a traditional MRO into one that emphasises data and services, says Zhu.