SR Technics is to form separate maintenance joint ventures with South African Airways (SAA) and France's AOM, carriers to which it is linked via parent company SAirGroup, which has equity stakes in both.

The Swiss overhaul specialist says it is in "very advanced" talks about the South African venture. This will be based in Johannesburg and will primarily serve SAA. The venture is to begin operations during the fourth quarter of this year, eventually establishing a widebody heavy maintenance capability.

The South African move is the latest in a series of deals struck after SAir's purchase of a 20% stake in SAA. The Swiss group's subsidiary Atraxis is taking over responsibility for running SAA's information technology activities through the creation of Atraxis Africa in a 12-year deal valued at more than SFr1 billion ($600 million). The business will again be Johannesburg-based, with 300 staff.

SAA is, meanwhile, taking some of the 21 Boeing 737-800s from SAir's 50%-owned fleet management arm GATX Flightlease.

The overhaul deal with AOM will establish SR Technics France, with SAir owning 51% and AOM the rest. Based at Paris Orly Airport, it will take over the French airline's maintenance activities. SR Technics has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Cathay Pacific Airways to form an aircraft component management company to be based in Hong Kong. Operations of the new unit will start in July.

• SAir's Swissport International ground handling subsidiary is to form Swissport Deutschland, in partnership with airlines Hapag-Lloyd, Germania and LTU - itself 49%-owned by SAir. The new business will be 55% SAir-controlled, with the three airlines holding 15%each. It will be Germany's largest independent handler, operating at 12 airports.

Source: Flight International