Sabena is to spin off the engine repair and maintenance business of Sabena Technics into an independent business and sell a 50% stake to French engine builder Snecma. The new operation will be based at the Zaventem, Brussels, engine facilities run by the Belgian airline.

The partners plan to boost the number of engine overhauls at Zaventem from about 160 a year to 200 in the near future. Initially, work will remain focused on Pratt & Whitney JT8 (and JT9) and CFM International CFM56-3 powerplants, although, by the end of 2002, the company intends to expand into new generation engines such as the CFM56-7.

The deal is a further development of Snecma's plans to expand its after sales support operation with the recent consolidation of activities in that sector into Snecma Services. Snecma, which is a partner with General Electric in CFM International, already has a Belgian subsidiary called Techspace Aero, which specialises in the design, production and maintenance of aerospace equipment.

Source: Flight International