Chinese to Perform FedEx Maintenance in Subic Bay

Subic Bay Freeport Zone - China's Guangzhou Airport Maintenance Engineering Co. Ltd (GAMECO) will be setting-up its aircraft maintenance facilities for courier giant Federal Express (FedEx) with US$730,000 worth of committed investments.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga said that the SBMA board has approved the business proposal of GAMECO for the setting up of a 3,200 aircraft maintenance facility, here.

Mr. Salonga said that the proposed setting-up of the repair facilities at the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) would be a part of its global marketing strategies to attract more investors in the aviation industry.

"The strategic location and the availability of highly trained workers are major factors which make Subic Freeport more conducive for regional hub operations in the Asia-Pacific region," Mr. Salonga said.

GAMECO, a joint venture between China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. and Hutchison Whampoa (China) Ltd. from Hong Kong, is based at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

SBMA administrator and CEO Armand C. Arreza said that in its proposal, GAMECO will be providing "all line maintenance and aircraft parts storage and handling functions" associated with the operations of FedEx.

Mr. Arreza added that GAMECO general manager Thomas Tsiang has committed in its business development program submitted before the SBMA board to invest US$729,000 and will initially employ 60 workers in this premier Freeport Zone.

GAMECO being an outsourced aircraft maintenance provider of FedEx will be occupying building 8045 which is part the leased areas of FedEx.

SBMA Investment Processing Department head Ronnie Yambao said that GAMECO has entered into an Aircraft Maintenance and Storage Agreement with FedEx which also allowed the use of building 8045 without any lease consideration.

Mr. Yambao said GAMECO would likely further expand to accommodate other international and even local clients to provide aircraft maintenance services.

"GAMECO is setting its sight to improve future operations in Subic Freeport and a regional aircraft maintenance hub for other clients is being pushed by the SBMA," Mr. Yambao said.

GAMECO was selected to provide heavy maintenance service for several customers outside China such as the contracts for B757-200 aircraft modifications and painting service for Rolls-Royce Aircraft Management Limited.

Another B757-200 from Orient Thai Airline is also undergoing maintenance services with GAMECO while local airline, Cebu Pacific Air has contracted the company to perform Landing Gear replacement and modifications in one of its B757 airplane.

GAMECO was also awarded the maintenance contracts by Asiana Air from South Korea for maintenance and painting service for two of its B737-400 aircraft. In June 2006, GAMECO completed the first conversion of B737-300 passenger airplane to more useful cargo aircraft for China Postal Airlines.

Authorities here have set alternative plans to avert the perceived socioeconomic and business impact with the scheduled pullout of air courier giant, Federal Express (FedEx) by end of 2008. As part of its contingency plans, the SBMA is currently holding talks with Hong Kong based airport operators to have tie-up with different airlines servicing regular cargo terminals.

"For SBMA to successfully replace FedEx, we should be building air traffic like in Clark which has been accommodating up to 45 flights daily because innovative programs like the introduction of budget airlines," Mr. Arreza said. The SBMA is likewise exploring the potential of SBIA not just a cargo hub but also a gateway for foreign tourists.

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