A new engine-servicing joint venture in Shanghai between China Eastern Airlines Corp and Pratt & Whitney is looking at annual revenue of three billion yuan (HK$3.4 billion) in three years as it cashes in on the country's fast-growing fleet of aircraft. 'The centre could increase the engine maintenance competence of China Eastern, shorten the turnaround time of engine repair and so lower the inventory of spare engines,' said a statement posted on the airline's website yesterday. Shanghai Pratt & Whitney Engine Repair has set up the country's largest maintenance, repair and overhaul centre focusing on CFM56 engines, a common type used to power single-aisle aircraft such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737. The company aimed to service 300 engines per year, equivalent to about three billion yuan in annual sales in three years, chairman Li Yangmin said at the opening ceremony of the facility on Thursday. As well as working for China Eastern, it will also provide servicing for third-party customers across the Asia-Pacific, according to Pratt & Whitney, a world leader in aircraft engine manufacturing. Due to the lower labour costs and savings on transport, maintenance fees could be cut by US$500,000 per engine, said Li. The Shanghai facility was due to open last year, but the schedule was delayed by the Beijing Olympics and the earthquakes in Sichuan. The joint venture has US$98 million in registered capital and is 51 per cent owned by China Eastern. Pratt & Whitney is one of the bidders to provide engines for the C919, the country's first home-grown 156-seat aircraft, competing with General Electric and CFM International. The company proposed to use the PW1000G, which is already deployed by the C-series of Canada's Bombardier, to power the C919, said Todd Kallman, Pratt & Whitney's president of commercial engines and global services. The mainland needs to add 3,800 passenger aircraft in the next 20 years, according to Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country's largest aircraft manufacturer. Germany's MTU Aero Engines has formed a joint venture with China Southern Airlines to operate an engine service centre in Zhuhai. Goodrich Corp opened one in Tianjin in July, and Singapore Technologies Aerospace is involved in a joint venture in Xiamen.