Qualifications of Foreign Repair Stations
HAECO builds its 5th hangar at Piedmont TRIAD Airport in North Carolina. For those who have been involved in the Foreign Repair Stations over the long term, this extension into the US of the Hong Kong based company, once cited by the opponents to the applicability of Part 145 as one example of how cheap labor available in such locations results in low safety, is ironic.
HAECO Americas is investing $60,000,000 to build the nearly 250,000 sq. ft. structure. Once complete and ready for operation 500 new well compensated mechanics will be hired. The company’s collective set of US operations qualifies it as the largest independent MRO in the states.
Once the 1980s alleged “poster company” for shoddy workmanship is NOW a global MRO provider with repair stations in Asia, Europe and North America. Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (香港飛機工程有限公司) was founded in 1950. Since its start it has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent aircraft engineering and maintenance groups. Its status as a top flight MRO entity was confirmed by by Aviation Week selecting it as the “Best Airframe MRO Provider – Asia” in 2012 and then as the “Leading Independent MRO Organization” in 2015.
HAECO started off with a relatively small operation and grew with the help from its parent, the Swire Group, which also controlled Cathay Pacific. Its capacity has increased with large facilities on all continents. Another mark is its capabilities – it has some very able engineering talent and skilled workforce.
Its worldwide network extends to 18 subsidiaries and affiliates, with in excess of 17,000 quality and qualified employees in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Europe and the United States. The company’s offerings around the world include airframe support (C&D checks), line MX, component inventory and replacements, engine overhaul, inventory technical management, fleet technical management, cabin solutions, private jet solutions, freighter conversion, parts manufacturing and technical training.
An airline known for its excellence in technical expertise and extraordinarily high demands for quality, Lufthansa, uses the HAECO facility in Xiamen for C checks on its B-777F aircraft. That’s a very high commercial endorsement.
It is about time that the opponents to FRS certification come to a realization that airlines are global in their operations and that MROs follow their customers. Accepting that, they must also acknowledge that the standards follow the work; airlines will not/cannot accept one off workmanship.
Their oft used shibboleth — that overseas facilities are, by definition, inferior — no longer works.
US MROs and OEMs have planted their flags outside our borders. Undoubtedly, there are Part 145 holders which are not as good as others; that comparative is true as to selected FRSs, as to domestic Part 145s and as to in-house Part 121 organizations. The regulatory focus should not be to make categorical exclusions, but should be directed to weed out the facilities which do not meet the exacting FAA criteria — solely based on objective evaluations, not gross categorizations.