Andrzej Jeziorski/XIAMEN

Chinese maintenance, repair and overhaul specialist Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (TAECO) is studying further expansion as it prepares to commission its second new hangar.

"We are in the process of consideration and evaluation for a third hangar here," says TAECO assistant managing director John Chi. Provided that the idea wins board approval, construction at the company's base in Xiamen could begin next year, he adds.

Chi says the company is also preparing for maintenance of Boeing 767s and for heavy maintenance of Airbus A330/A340 widebodies. An MD-11 freighter conversion is expected to begin next January, but the hoped-for introduction of 747 conversion work will be slower because of reduced demand caused by the Asian economic slump, he adds. The company maintains Boeing 747s in all variants, 737s up to the -500 series and performs line maintenance on Airbus A320s and A330s.

The company's second hangar will have the first of its four bays commissioned this month and be fully operational by September. As a result, Chi says he is expecting an increase in business by 40%over last year's in terms of man-hours sold. A further 25% increase on this year's level is predicted in 2000.

The company was founded in July 1993, majority-owned by Swire Group subsidiaries Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering (HAECO)and Cathay Pacific Airways, which own a combined 51%. The first phase of its development required an investment of $63 million, with the new hangar costing a further $54.2 million.

Hangar three is expected to cost another $50 million. Chi says that it could possibly involve the participation of an additional investment partner, although this is not considered essential.

With the entry into the shareholding structure of Boeing and an additional injection of capital from HAECO in 1997, TAECO's stock also includes Boeing, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines, with 9.09% each; government-owned Xiamen Aviation Industry, with 13.6%; and Beijing Kailan Aviation Technology Development, a 100% subsidiary of the CAAC, holding 8.18%.

Source: Flight International