Air Transport World

'Lufthansa Technik in China:' AMECO Beijing joint venture, jewel of the German carrier's heavy presence, is starting to target other Asian markets. (includes related article on LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG)

AMECO Beijing joint venture, jewel of the German carrier's heavy presence, is starting to target other Asian markets

BEIJING--The scramble for China's skies, which economists reckon will be the world's fastest-growing aviation market over the next 20 years, extends beyond rivalries among aircraft manufacturers. Winds of competition starting to sweep the industry encompass the burgeoning engineering, components-maintenance and engine-overhaul markets, as well as lucrative in-flight catering enterprises and international hotel groups.

Among companies actively in the forefront of this involvement from the time China began "opening up" have been units of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Overall, Germany is China's biggest European trade partner.

LSG Lufthansa Service/SKY Chefs is firmly entrenched and growing in China under its Hong Kong-based subsidiary, LSG Lufthansa Service Asia Ltd. Six nonstop LH flights a week between Frankfurt and Beijing--three also serving Shanghai--are booked heavily, as is the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, a luxury hotel, office and apartment complex opened in October, 1992.

Possibly the most significant--and successful--long-term Lufthansa investment has been the Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Corp., Beijing, abbreviated as AMECO-Beijing, a consistently growth-oriented joint venture between Air China (60%) and Lufthansa (40%), founded in 1989. The contract runs until 2004 but it can be extended. The company's chairman is Air China President Yin Wenlong and until his death in November, the vice chairman was Lufthansa's highly respected technology expert, Reinhardt Abraham.

While maintaining and overhauling Air China's fleet of 50 aircraft, AMECO increasingly also carries out technical work for third-party customers on airframes, engines and components of Western-made aircraft, reports Customer Services Director Carl W. Koehler.

There's a historic precedent to the cooperation between Lufthansa and a Chinese airline, an exotic company called Eurasia Aviation Corp. …

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