Triumph Aviation Services forged an agreement with China Southern Airlines today (Feb. 7, Singapore) that has short- and long-term implications for the airline’s nacelle maintenance—and could provide Triumph with a potential footprint in China.
The memorandum calls for Triumph to be China Southern’s supplier of choice for IAE 2500 and Pratt & Whitney PW4168 nacelles, which power Airbus A320 and A330s, respectively.
Remy Maitam, who leads Triumph Aviation Services Asia, says the contract should be worth $20-25 million over the next three years. V2500 nacelles will generate about two-thirds of the revenue with PW4168 nacelles constituting the rest.
The companies also will look into establishing a nacelle maintenance joint venture. Maitam says the two companies will start the first working session to evaluate the potential joint venture in March or April—with discussions taking six-seven months. If Triumph and China Southern decide to proceed with the JV that would be located in Shenyang, China, Maitam thinks it will be one-two years before it would launch.
Triumph started working with China Southern two decades ago when it still had an auxiliary power unit (APU) business. (It sold the APU business to The Gores Group in Feb. 2017, resulting in the creation of TurbineAero.) However, after the airline started its own APU maintenance, business between the two diminished so “we asked what else could we do with you,” says Maitam. That led to Triumph helping China Southern launch its own composite repair facility, to which Triumph provides FAA Part 145-approved engineering support for repairs.
If the JV proceeds, it will provide a local presence in China for Triumph, which Maitam says is crucial to gaining business in the country. Triumph Aviation Services Asia is based in Bangkok, “but not all of the Asian market is accessible from Thailand,” he says. And based on its long relationship with China Southern, “it’s a natural evolution to have a footprint in China,” says Maitam.
In addition to nacelle maintenance, Maitam says the JV could consider additional components—most likely actuators, hydraulics and interiors—which are core product lines for Triumph.