The landscaped grounds of Ameco Beijing have a campus-like quality befitting of what is arguably the font of Chinese knowledge regarding modern commercial aircraft maintenance.
Although Air China has now increased its stake in Ameco to 75%, the company is still a joint venture between China’s flag carrier and Lufthansa, a partnership that has allowed it to add capabilities at a brisk pace and attract western airlines.
In 2010, for instance, United awarded Ameco a five-year contract for heavy maintenance on its 777s and 747-400s, while Aeroflot chose the company for C checks on its 767s.
Last year Ameco added initial C Checks for the 747-8 and 777F to its products, and in 2017 it intends to develop a 777-300ER 2C Check, an A321 6C check and an A330 8C check.
A wide spectrum of checks is necessary in a country where average fleet age is decreasing and analysts predict steady growth in heavy maintenance rather than a bow wave of shop visits.
In 2016 Ameco’s Beijing base also developed V2500-A5, CFM56-5B and Trent 700 engine thrust reverser overhauls as well as Airbus A330 air inlet repair capabilities.
On the engine front, it hopes that overhaul capabilities on the V2500, developed in 2015, will secure more contracts from Chinese and global customers to add to those it already has on the RB211.
Looking further ahead, Ameco also intends to develop capabilities on the A350, A320neo and 737MAX – aircraft that will drive huge volumes of maintenance activity through the 2020s given backlog of Chinese airlines.
China’s MRO market is growing at more than twice the rate of Europe’s or the United States’ and is set to be worth about $10bn in five years’ time.