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South Korea Business Report

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ASTK aspires to brace China’s ambitious aerospace plans

Producer has supplied aircraft core parts to Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier and Airbus for decades

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 10:36am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 10:36am

China is aiming high in the aerospace and aviation business. As the second largest air travel market in the world, China is aggressively developing passenger aircraft that could rival global giants Boeing and Airbus.

The state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is eager to supply new jets, and AeroSpace Technology of Korea (ASTK) is keen on helping COMAC and other aircraft makers in Asia meet the extremely high quality standards demanded by international airlines.

For decades, the aircraft core parts producer has been a key supplier to leading manufacturers Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier and Airbus. ASTK’s highly reliable aerostructures are produced using a complete management system that can independently develop and supply specialised and high-level aircraft components. Quality control is embedded within the overall management system where manuals, policies and standard procedures are implemented cohesively.

But the true genius lies in its one-stop technology. ASTK spared no expense in bolstering its in-house expertise – from designing and engineering to manufacturing and collaborating with top aerospace players to create safe, cost-effective and competitive products. As a result, the company was chosen to supply the rear fuselage known as Section 48 of the Boeing 737 in 2011.

“We have our own technology, but each part is developed through cooperation with other aerospace engineering experts,” says Kim Hee-won, chairman and CEO of ASTK. “We produce all the core structure parts, which make up one-third of the whole aircraft, including the stringer, frame, skin, aircraft precision parts, fuselages, and other airframe structures.”

Renowned globally for its technology and smart production capacity, ASTK built a new factory that can service clients in Europe and worldwide. It is embarking on a bigger challenge as it prepares to apply a vertically integrated system. From parts production to assembly, ASTK seeks to uphold its partner companies’ capability and infrastructure as they cope with the demanding characteristics of the aerospace sector.

“It is a tough industry,” Kim says. “You have to deal with challenges such as high risk, strict quality control, massive resource input and long investment recovery. So we build win-win business relationships to meet customers’ needs and to make them happy.”

With a lean and proficient team of specialists undergirding its operations, ASTK continues to work with partners to increase the order volume, management ability and investments in the industry. By applying a specialised and competitive structure, the company targets to earn US$300 million by 2020.

“We are a relatively small-sized company, but we have very experienced talents in this industry,” Kim says. “We are successful because of our people, and we focus on strengthening our structure, technologies and competitive talents to enhance the aerospace industry worldwide.”

ASTK sees the rise of Chinese aerospace as a boon, and opportunities for collaboration abound. Industry reports project that in the next 10 years, China’s general aviation fleet will grow by around 30 per cent annually, amounting to US$159 billion. Moreover, in the next 15 years, Chinese businesses and individuals are expected to purchase more than 5,000 aircraft of at least 50 seats apiece, at a net worth of US$647 billion. Out of this total, 75 per cent of the orders will be for single-aisle jet airliners. As more of China’s rising middle class desire to travel by air, ASTK is cementing its foothold in the region to serve the demand for specialised aircraft parts.

“We think China will be the biggest market in Asia,” Kim says. “The point-to-point strategy will grow rapidly, so demand for single-aisle planes will also grow quickly. To support this development, we are well-equipped to provide aviation companies’ need for specialised and highly reliable core structure parts and components.”

www.astk.co.kr