Rolls-Royce & Air China Partner in New Beijing MRO Facility

An Air China Airbus climbing after takeoff., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – British aerospace firm Rolls-Royce and Air China, have announced that they are venturing into a 50-50 Joint Venture (JV) for a new MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) facility in Beijing, China.

The new facility will be called BAESL, an acronym for Beijing Aero Engine Services Company Limited. They will provide MRO support for the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, Trent XWB-84 and Trent 1000 aero engines. The Chinese flag carrier, Air China operates all of these engine types in its fleet of modern aircraft. 

Air China and Rolls-Royce logos.

The consortium expects that by mid-2030 the MRO facility will operate at full capacity, and that BAESL will be able to support up to 250 shop visits per annum. The state-of-the-art facility will cater to its main partner, Air China, and also other airlines based in PRC China.

It will also provide services in regions including East Asia, Central Asia, and Mongolia. As of now, Rolls-Royce covers at least 60% of China’s widebody fleet which translates to powering more than 550 wide-body aircraft in service, or currently on order. 

The Trent 700 powertrain also powers 90% of the nation’s Airbus A330 fleet, which is very significant. In fact, this represents 20% of all Trent engines flying in PRC greater China today. 

The venture is very crucial and strategic for Rolls-Royce’s plan in China. Not only given the fact that China is a lucrative market, but also in terms of anchoring future relationships and fostering ties with Chinese airlines, especially its national carrier Air China.

The British company ensures that it will deliver the best customer service it can to the Chinese market, and also improve cost-competitiveness as its business grows in China, achieving economies of scale.

The engine manufacturer expects to achieve cost competitiveness as soon as more shop visits are made from different airlines. Beijing is a strategic place, where it houses one of the biggest airlines in Asia and its proximity to markets in East and Asia and South East Asia. 

Rolls-Royce & Air China statements

President – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Chris Cholerton, said: “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 the continued growth of our collaboration.”

President of Air China, Mr Ma Chongxian is optimistic about Rolls-Royce maintaining their aircraft, saying: “With safe operation as a 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 Joint Venture into a world-class aero engine MRO company and increasing the volume of China’s civil aero engine MRO industry.”

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