GAMECO To Become Spirit AeroSystems Authorized Service Center

Credit: GAMECO

Spirit AeroSystems needs to expand its global aftermarket business to enable it to grow that segment’s revenue from $240 million in revenue in 2021 to its goal of $500 million in 2025. The company now has a footprint in mainland China.

Spirit has signed an agreement, for at least 10 years, with Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co. (GAMECO) to become its authorized service center.

The first work will be Boeing 757 Rolls-Royce RB211 inlet cowlings and Airbus A330 Trent 700 inlet cowlings, which will start in late Q2 or early Q3, says Kailash Krishnaswamy, Spirit AeroSystems SVP aftermarket services. However, “There is an opportunity to pursue 737NG and A320 work in the region” because of the large numbers there. China Southern, a major shareholder of GAMECO, alone operates 583 aircraft, according to Aviation Week Network Commercial Aviation 2022 Fleet & MRO Forecast.

Spirit already performs some MRO work for China Southern at its facility in Belfast.

Spirit evaluated other potential partners in China, but “GAMECO quickly rose to the top,” says Krishnaswamy. Some of the appeal included its wide capability, including its planned opening of a composite shop. In addition, “I saw a lot of the same brands that we see in our shops, so when you think about serving our global customers locally, that fell into place,” he says.

The companies are in the process of adding materials and tooling to GAMECO, whose mechanics will be doing the work. Spirit adds its “expertise and repair technology,” says Krishnaswamy.

Spirit already has Chinese customers, such as YTO Cargo Airlines and SF Airlines. By having a facility in mainland China that performs Spirit’s repairs, Krishnaswamy says Spirit should be able to win contracts that it wasn’t able to win before because it wasn’t in the country, as well as follow-on work with existing customers.

Once GAMECO finishes its composite center, the partnership could expand, potentially to include widebody composites work, says Krishnaswamy.

Spirit forged an agreement with EGAT in 2021. That deal, along with the one with GAMECO, should cover Spirit’s Asia-Pacific MRO network for the near term. However, Krishnaswamy says Spirit needs to strengthen its North Africa, Middle East and Central America footprint.

It grew its Asia-Pacific footprint by partnerships with heavy maintenance providers because they have the necessary labor and infrastructure. Expect similar deals to cover the Middle East and Central America.

In North Africa, Spirit AeroSystems already has a facility in Morocco, which produces the A220 fuselage. Spirit has applied for an FAA certification for that facility to build on its EASA satellite ticket from its Belfast operation so it can expand its African operations.

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.