Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) is to apply for an air operator's certificate (AOC) as it attempts to become a major player in the passenger and cargo wet-lease sector.

ST Aero began bundling its traditional maintenance service with aircraft, crew and insurance earlier this year as part of a wet- lease/ACMI contract for Biman Bangladesh Airlines. President Tay Kok Khiang says ST Aero is pursuing similar contracts for other carriers, which has put it up against more traditional and pure wet-lease operators.

"The ACMI programme we launched with Biman is one step," Tay says. "I wouldn't say it's the prevailing direction, but I believe increasingly it will pick up."

ST Aero has hired foreign pilots and leased two Boeing 737-300s from Credit Lyonnais, but the operation is under Biman's AOC. Tay says an AOC will eventually be required to give ST Aero the flexibility to operate for several carriers worldwide.

ST Aero does not want to expand its wet-lease operation until it has lined up long-term contracts, nor does it want to be in the ad hoc charter business, which many wet-lease providers have been forced to rely on as market conditions have slumped.

Source: Flight International