Lufthansa, Air China joint venture seeks domestic and international expansion
The joint venture, in which Air China holds a 60% stake and Lufthansa 40%, in August signed a multi-million dollar contract with United Airlines to provide heavy maintenance for the carrier's B777s over the next five years.
"We are happy to have won this very big customer and we are trying to extend this and surf our wave of success to acquire more customers from the US, where we have been quite successful," Butzmann said.
"We are in talks with several operators," he added, without giving details.
Ameco Beijing's key European customer is Lufthansa, but the company is looking to attract more operators in the region and is currently in talks with "one of the major airlines of Europe" for a five year contract, Butzmann said.
"There are a lot of opportunities (in Europe), some of which are quite far advanced," he said.
"It is a huge task and challenge to provide the services Air China needs to operate its fleet," Butzmann said, adding that Ameco Beijing now provides complete maintenance services to Air China's entire fleet.
"The growth potential is there...the China market is growing at about 10-15%, and in some areas maybe even 20%. We have to stay ahead of that figure so we have to target growth of 20-25%, which is possible," he said.
Several new hangers are currently under construction, one of which will be inaugurated in the beginning of 2007, and another, which will be entirely dedicated to line maintenance, will open at the start of 2008, Butzmann said.
"We are looking to double our capacity in terms of airframe overhaul by 2008," Butzmann said.
A significant proportion of Ameco Beijing's 4,500 employees are temporary workers, but the company hopes that its aviation college, which was established in 1991, will provide a steady source of qualified personnel, Butzmann said.
"The employee situation really is an issue that requires a lot of consideration. Our aviation college currently has around 120 graduates a year, which is good, but if you are looking at the growth which we have to serve then maybe it could be more," he said.