Chinese Aviation, MROs Have Strong 2021 Finish

Credit: HAECO Hong Kong

Despite a COVID-19 outbreak and stern restrictive measures in the northwest city of Xi’an, Chinese domestic aviation is rebounding from the pandemic. Daily domestic flights were up sharply in the final weeks of 2021, hitting 90% of pre-COVID levels in the last week of December, according to RadarBox. Three major Chinese MROs also finished the year strongly with new capacity, capabilities or business.

Just before Christmas, Gameco opened its long-awaited Phase III hangar, inducting two China Southern Airlines widebodies—an Airbus A380 and a Boeing 747. The 50,000 m2 hangar boosts Gameco’s capacity from 20 to 31 heavy check lines. It was designed to accommodate six widebodies and five narrowbodies simultaneously.

The company says the new hangar will end the shortage of narrowbody slots, which have been in demand due to the recovery of domestic aviation, support the booming cargo-conversion business and generate more line, component and landing gear maintenance volumes for the Guangzhou-based MRO.

To the north, Ameco’s major new hangar capacity lies in the future. But the Beijing-based MRO was still busy enhancing its capabilities at year-end.

At the end of November, Chinese authorities officially opened commercial services at Shaoguan Danxia Airport, which had opened as a military airport in 1970. Ameco simultaneously opened its newest line maintenance station at Daxia to support its own services and flights of other airlines, including LoongAir, Juneyao Airlines and Shandong Airlines.

At its home base, Ameco has been busy with another series of winter layover scheduled checks on Lufthansa 747-8s. By mid-December, the first C and D Checks had been completed and the third and fourth 747-8s had entered Ameco shops for D checks. The program is being conducted under rules designed to efficiently mitigate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before Christmas, Ameco announced it had completed its first A350 C check for Hong Kong Airlines.

Meanwhile, Ameco’s equipment continues to be modernized for the digital age. At the beginning of December, Ameco’s first self-service smart equipment cabinet was put into operation in the wheel workshop of the landing gear overhaul production business unit. It says this intelligent cabinet can provide a guarantee of uninterrupted aviation material service at the production site anytime, anywhere and as needed, reducing wait time and increasing efficiency of operations.

Finally, in late December, the HAECO Group announced that it will partner with EcoSmart Energy to launch the largest solar project in Hong Kong. EcoSmart is investing in a solar photovoltaic system with total capacity of three megawatts, which will be installed on the rooftop of two HAECO aircraft maintenance hangars at Hong Kong International Airport. The system will consist of 6,000 solar panels, avoiding more than a million kg of carbon emissions per year. The project is expected to be completed in April 2022.