China and Singapore have reached an agreement covering mutual recognition and oversight of MRO providers in either country.
It is the first such bilateral struck by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), while the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has similar agreements in place with the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.
Under the Technical Arrangement on Aviation Maintenance (TA-AM), MRO providers in Singapore and China need only be audited by their local authority to be able to perform maintenance on an aircraft registered in the other country.
The deal builds on a 2014 memorandum of understanding that called for the CAAC and CAAS to establish arrangements for the exchange of information and technical expertise and to explore cooperation and mutual assistance in all areas of aviation safety.
For now, though, TA-AM may have little practical effect since 43 MRO providers in Singapore already have CAAC approval, while 26 Chinese MROs have (SAR) 145 Maintenance Organization Approvals from the CAAS.
Long the leading MRO hub in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s position is coming under increasing pressure from new partnerships, facilities and aeroparks either planned or undergoing development across Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The latest example is the tie-up between GMF AeroAsia and Lion Air’s Batam Aero Technic, so any easing of access to China’s huge market will be welcomed by Singaporean MRO companies.
One of the biggest in SIA Engineering, which is also committed to partnership projects as it seeks to hold market share.
In July it announced a line maintenance partnership with Thai carrier NokScoot for a repair station at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport to service NokScoot’s fleet initially.
It will be interesting to see whether the new bilateral deal will prompt SIA Engineering to cast its eye to China for its next joint venture.