AMECO wins FAA seal of approval
BEIJING is set to become one of Asia's key commercial aircraft maintenance centres now that the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given it ''Approved Repair Station'' certification.
The FAA granted the approval certification to the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Corporation (AMECO) last December after a thorough inspection of the company's maintenance facilities.
The certificate means that AMECO, a joint venture between Air China and the German carrier Lufthansa, can now do maintenance work on national-and foreign-registered Boeing 747 aircraft, overhaul Pratt and Whitney engines used on the aircraft, including components and emergency equipment.
Work has already begun on the construction of what will be one of the region's biggest and most sophisticated commercial aircraft hangars in Beijing.
The US$84 million facility will give AMECO the capability of housing 10 wide-bodied commercial aircraft at any one time.
A team of FAA inspectors visited Beijing towards the end of last year to inspect AMECO's engine, component, aircraft overhaul and aircraft maintenance workshops, plus the support divisions such as material, engineering, technical training and customer services.
''AMECO is fast becoming one of the key players in aircraft maintenance in Asia and will, in time, become the leading player,'' one aviation source said.
''The FAA sets extremely tough standards and it does not give out certificates to just anyone. There is no doubt the certificate gives AMECO international credibility and will make it a key player.
''Obviously, AMECO has its attractions. It has a low-cost, skilled workforce, which can mean considerable savings to airlines.'' A spokesman for AMECO said yesterday the company had already signed contracts for line-maintenance work with Pakistan International and the Israeli carrier El Al.
''We are currently negotiating with United Airlines to do its line maintenance work in Beijing and that looks pretty good at the moment,'' the spokesman said.
United is in the process of changing the livery of its aircraft and is said to be actively looking for facilities around the world.
''There is a possibility we may get a contract for some of United's paint work,'' the AMECO spokesman said.