China’s Ameco Beijing has noticed a slowdown in the MRO market for large-scale business aircraft due to the economic slowdown in China, but is very optimistic about business aviation in general in the country as the government continues to promote building of infrastructure and the recovery of the economy.
“Ameco business jet modification is mainly for large business jets such as the BBJ [Boeing] and ACJ [Airbus] market. Although the large-scale business jet market in China is slowing due to the economic situation, the number of second-hand business jets in Greater China keeps growing, the market demand of refurbishment and repair still exists,” said an Ameco spokesperson. “With the introduction of more business jet policies, the completion of medium-sized airports, and the recovery of China’s economy, the Chinese business jet market will develop further.”
The Beijing based MRO primarily focuses on maintenance for mainstream commercial aircraft, but has expanded its portfolio to large business jets such as the Boeing BBJ and Airbus ACJ family aircraft in recent years, and has Part 145 maintenance certification for these from China’s CAAC, the U.S. FAA and Europe’s EASA.
Ameco was formed as a joint venture between flag-carrier Air China (60%) and Lufthansa German Airlines (40%) in 1989, but was restructured in June 2015 to integrate MRO resources in the older Ameco and former Air China Technics (ACT) to establish new Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Corporation (“New Ameco”), with Air China now owning 75% and the rest being Lufthansa.
Ameco and Lufthansa Technik signed an MOU at ABACE 2018 to further strengthen business aircraft services. Both parties will explore areas where they can leverage their strengths to help increase support availability and technical expertise for the growing business jet market in China. Some areas include the strengthening of information visualization management as well as optimising research and development to promote the digitalization of the business jet services of both companies.
For 2019, Ameco said it plans to pay more attention to “stepping out” of the Chinese market to expand customer service in the Asia-Pacific region and strengthen international cooperation.
Ameco, like the rest of China, is now developing a series of digital technology capabilities. It is launching the “Ameconnect” on-board connectivity product, providing in-flight WiFi, and satellite communication using the Ku/Ka+ band for business aircraft. In addition, the company said it would be focusing on the development of virtual reality and augmented reality, to showcase cabin modifications to customers, as well as the study of artificial intelligence.
Other capabilities Ameco is exploring includes addictive manufacturing, or 3D printing, for aircraft parts and cabin components, which its said will reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs, and lighten the weight of modifications.
At ABACE, AMECO (Booth B335) will be showcasing its new cabin interior design ideas, as well as presenting a concept for an A319 interior modification.