AFI KLM E&M has grown its presence in China by creating a new line maintenance joint venture with Beijing General Aviation (BGAC).
The JV will operate as Beijing Line Maintenance International and commence services from Apr. 1 from Beijing. It’ll initially provide line maintenance work for the Air France-KLM fleet operating from the Chinese capital.
In future, the European MRO provider said it the JV plans to extend its service offering to third-party airline customers operating in China.
At a Feb. 27 signing ceremony in Beijing, Ling Zhuanghuai, chief executive of BGAC which previously specialized in general aviation MRO, was clear about the company’s long-term objectives in the line maintenance segment.
“This agreement is an important milestone for our group, which aims to become a leading aircraft line maintenance player on the Chinese market,” he said. “AFI KLM E&M is globally recognized for its MRO expertise and service quality and will be our best ally in achieving our objectives.”
Despite a perceived slowdown in China’s economy in the past 18 months, the country remains an attractive destination for joint venture activity. Last year, the overall value of its civil aviation MRO market stood at $4.6 billion while operators received 273 new aircraft deliveries worth $29 billion, according to Aviation Week data.
The government has also opened its doors to overseas investment and has introduced a series of policies to further welcome and promote foreign initiatives to partner with Chinese companies.
AFI KLM E&M meanwhile said that the China development was a continuation of its strategy to consolidate its global line maintenance network, choosing to partner up with local companies.
In October 2015, the group made a similar move by penning an agreement with Senegalese line maintenance specialist SHS Technics, under which it acquired an equity interest.