SF Airlines (O3, Shenzhen) and the commercial aerospace arm of Singapore-based ST Engineering have formed a joint-venture (JV) commercial airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company to be based at China’s Ezhou airport in eastern Hubei province.

ST Engineering Aerospace (Hubei) Aviation Services Company Limited was set up with a registered capital of CNY100 million yuan (USD14.2 million). ST Engineering has a 60% stake, and SF Airlines the remaining 40%.

The new company will operate a greenfield airframe MRO facility at Ezhou Airport to provide MRO services to cargo and passenger airlines operating in the Asia region, including SF Airlines. The first hangar is scheduled to open in 2025.

To start with, the JV will cater to the entire airframe MRO needs of SF Airlines, which operates a fleet of Boeing aircraft, including the B767, B757 and B737, a spokesman for ST Engineering said.

Ezhou Airport is designated as Hubei’s international logistics hub airport. With passenger and air cargo traffic growing steadily as China re-opens its flight connectivity, the joint venture will not only support the freighter MRO demands of SF Airlines, which is China’s largest freighter airline in fleet size but also serve the increasing needs of other cargo and passenger airlines operating in the region, ST Engineering said.

"China will be a strong growth driver for Asia’s commercial aerospace sector over the next decade. A presence in Hubei, China, will enhance our MRO network in Asia to better meet and capture the rising regional demand, while our strategic collaboration with an airline partner will enable us to start up a greenfield operation quickly,” commented ST Engineering commercial president Jeffrey Lam.

SF Airlines chairman Li Sheng added: "The establishment of the MRO joint venture with ST Engineering, which is the largest airframe MRO provider in the world with over 45 years of experience in the industry, will make up for our airframe maintenance capability. Given the huge aircraft maintenance market in Ezhou hub, sincere cooperation with ST Engineering and strong support from the government, I have full confidence in the development of the joint venture."

According to company registration information by China's credit reporting agency, the business scope of the JV will include civil aircraft maintenance; civil aviation maintenance personnel training; civil aircraft parts design and production; and goods warehousing services under customs supervision, excluding the handling of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods).

Cargo specialist SF Airlines is headquartered in Shenzhen. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it owns a fleet of 81 Boeing freighters, including fourteen B737-300(F)s, three B737-400(F)s, two B747-400ERFs, one B747-400FSCD, forty-two B757-200(PCF)s with one due, nineteen B767-300ER(BCF)s with another to be delivered, and four B767-300ERs outstanding. The company owns most (67) of its fleet. It operates from three major hubs in Hangzhou, Beijing Capital, and Ezhou.

Editorial Comment: Correcting the name of the JV. - 23.05.2023 - 13:39 UTC