Alitalia's maintenance company Atitech expects to start operating from a new plant in Grottaglie-Taranto by October. The former Alenia Aeronautica plant was built for assembly of the Boeing/BAE Systems Harrier II but was never used in this role. Atitech has purchased the plant, which will initially perform "heavy" maintenance work on Boeing MD-80s and later expand to include the Boeing 737. Dresden, Germany-based EADS EFW has obtained a supplemental type-certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration and Germany's LBA for its AirbusA310-300 freighter conversion, clearing the way for deliveries to initial customer FedEx. Aeronavali is converting a further three Boeing MD-11s to cargo for FedEx. Two aircraft have been bought from China Airlines, and one from GATX. Deliveries are due in late April, July and August. Ansett Australia & Air New Zealand Engineering Services has won a six-year A$150 million ($80 million) contract for maintenance support on 50 "aero-derivative" gas turbines for natural gas producer El Paso Corp. The engines will be shipped to Auckland from North and South America. GB Airways has signed a 10-year "fly-by-the-hour" maintenance contract with MTU for the International Aero Engines V2500s on its Airbus A320/A321 fleet. AAR Aircraft Services has won contracts from Dynair and Lear Siegler for repair and overhaul support of over 400 propellers on US Army Raytheon C-12 (King Air) and Fairchild C-26 (Metro) aircraft. The contracts are for 10 and five-year terms, respectively. AAR's Oklahoma division has won a contract to do end-of-lease "exit checks" on 25 Boeing MD-80s and -90s acquired by American Airlines when it bought Reno Air in 1999. London Gatwick-based charter airline Excel Airways has signed a long-term maintenance deal with FLS Aerospace for its737-800s.

Source: Flight International