British aerospace giant Rolls-Royce and Air China are entering into a new Joint Venture to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility. The new facility, Beijing Aero Engine Services Company Limited, will provide essential MRO support on several engines. This Joint Venture between Rolls-Royce and Air China is a result of the United States increasingly implementing export restrictions on advanced technology and limited international travel.

MRO Facility To Maintain Rolls-Royce Engines

According to a press release published by Rolls-Royce, the 50:50 Joint Venture is expected to build the new facility in Beijing by mid-2030. It will provide maintenance support for all three engine types currently in Air China’s fleet which include the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, Trent XWB-84 and Trent 1000 aero.

Chris Cholerton, president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce said: “The announcement of this (joint venture) is an important milestone for Rolls-Royce in China, where we have been powering the nation’s airlines for more than 50 years.”

Cholerton continued by saying that “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 [maintenance, repair and overhaul] and look forward to the continued growth of our collaboration.”

Rolls-Royce Supporting Air China’s Fleet

As mentioned earlier, the Beijing Aero Engine Services Company (BAESL) will service the Trent 700, Trent XWB-84 and Trent 1000 engines for Air China’s widebody passenger jets.

According to Rolls-Royce:

  • its engines are currently powering 60% of China’s total widebody fleet consisting of more than 550 aircraft
  • the Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines are fitted to around 90% of China’s Airbus A330 aircraft
  • the Greater China fleet represents 20% of all Trent engines in operation today

The new MRO facility in Beijing “will provide services to Air China as well as its other airline customers based in Greater China and beyond” (Rolls-Royce). It will be able to support up to 250 shop visits per year.

Developing Exceptional Aircraft Maintenance Capabilities

On the new MRO facility, Air China president Ma Chongxian said: “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.”

Chongxian continued by stating; “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.”

According to an unnamed official within the economic zone of Beijing Capital International Airport, the new project has an estimated worth of 2.61 billion yuan (US$378 million or approximately £322 million).

Boosting China’s Aerospace Sector

Rolls-Royce said that the joint venture will play a vital role in strengthening its relationship with Air China. It will allow them to provide customers with the best possible level of service while improving the cost-competitiveness of their business. It would also help generate additional maintenance, repair and overhaul capacity as time goes by.

The joint venture will support the sustainability goals of Rolls-Royce and Air China by reducing overseas transportation of engines for maintenance, repair and overhauling. This new collaboration between Air China and Rolls-Royce comes as Beijing seeks to boost its own aerospace industry showing a lot of promise.

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