The business of maintaining business jets is booming at ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China, which operates from a large purpose-built hangar at Tianjin Binhai International Airport.
The company, a joint venture between ExecuJet Aviation Group and Tianjin Haite, is going from strength to strength, says General Manager Paul Desgrosseilliers.
“We had a very good 2016, with business growing 70%—and that’s consistent with the 60-65% we’ve seen every year since 2012,” he says. “And in the first quarter of this year we’ve recorded a 115% growth in maintenance man-hours.”
It’s not that business aircraft are flying that much more, but they’re getting older and need age-related checks. Plus more aircraft are using Tianjin—up to 50 are parked there on any given day—due to parking restrictions at Beijing International Airport. And increasing number of aircraft are based there.
“The result is we’re seeing significant growth in our line maintenance that we didn’t see two or three years ago. But we would still be growing at a far fast pace if the aircraft were flying as much as they do in the West, and if the OEMs were delivering new aircraft,” Desgrosseilliers says.
ExecuJet Haite focuses on(which makes up 15% of its business) and business jets. This summer it will become a and -licensed Authorized Service Center for Falcon 7X and 8X, with and Cayman certification following soon after.
“Falcon maintenance is set up with Shanghai Hawker Pacific in Shanghai, and we won’t compete with them. We’ll do line maintenance and first base checks; we’re not going after the heavy checks.”
Desgrosseilliers says ExecuJet Haite also added Gulfstream capability but will not become an Authorized Service Center for that marque, so it will not compete head-on with Gulfstream’s MRO facility in Beijing. It offers line maintenance and up to C-checks for Gulfstream 450 and 550 aircraft registered by the CAAC, the FAA or the Cayman Islands.
“We will start non-warranty work on Gulfstreams as the fleet size is so large and so many are now out of warranty,” he says. “Gulfstream is more than happy that we support their customers, too.”
Looking ahead, Desgrosseilliers says Haite will complete two new hangars and a paint shop, all for commercial aircraft, in August. They will be adjacent to ExecuJet Haite, and he hopes the paint shop can be used for business aircraft, too. “We work closely with Haite, especially on back-shop, batteries and tires, where we don’t have the volume.”
He is also in talks with European company to offer an interior refurbishing capability and something might happen “hopefully this year,” he adds.