Rolls-Royce and Air China are entering into a new 50/50 joint venture (JV) MRO facility in Beijing, China.
The new facility is named Beijing Aero Engine Services – or BAESL – and will provide MRO support on the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, Trent XWB-84 and Trent 1000 aero engines. Air China currently has all three engine types in its fleet.
Full capacity is expected to be achieved in the mid-2030s, at which point BAESL will be able to support up to 250 shop visits per year.
The facility will offer MRO services to Air China as well as other Rolls-Royce airline customers based in Greater China and beyond. The engine manufacturer said it currently powered 60 per cent of China’s widebody fleet, powering more than 550 aircraft in service or on order.
Its Trent 700 engines also power 90 per cent of the country’s Airbus A330 fleet and the Greater China fleet represents 20 per cent of all Trent engines flying today.
As part of its strategy in China, Rolls-Royce said the JV would deepen its relationship with Air China, give customers the best level of service, improve the cost-competitiveness of its business and generate incremental MRO capacity as shop visits grow.
“It aligns in-region growth with in-region capacity providing customer proximity, which supports our sustainability goals by reducing overseas transportation of engines for MRO activity,” the company stated. “The new facility will also support the continued expansion of our capable, competitive and flexible global Care Network. It is part of our strategy to expand our MRO network in a cost-effective way in order to support our growing fleet.”
Rolls-Royce’s president – civil aerospace Chris Cholerton commented: “The announcement of this JV is an important milestone for Rolls-Royce in China, where we have been powering the nation’s airlines for more than 50 years. Air China is a strategic partner for us, having successfully grown together over many years, and I am delighted to now expand our relationship with this exciting partnership in MRO and look forward to continued growth of our collaboration.”
Air China’s presidential Ma Chongxian commented: “With safe operation as top priority, Air China has long been committed to developing aircraft maintenance capabilities and ensuring the reliability of the fleet, meanwhile striving to promote the industrialisation of aircraft maintenance. In the future, Air China and Rolls-Royce will continue to deepen our profound partnership and start a new journey of cooperation in the field of high thrust engine maintenance. We look forward to building the JV into a world-class aero engine MRO company and increasing the volume of China’s civil aero engine MRO industry.”