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SIA Engineering forms engine overhaul joint venture with GE Aviation

SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) is going into a joint venture with GE Aviation to form an engine overhaul company based in Singapore.

The joint venture, which will be 51 per cent owned by GE and 49 per cent by SIAEC, will combine GE Aviation's design, engineering and innovation strengths with SIAEC's expertise and delivery in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

It will leverage GE's "Brilliant Factory" concepts, and use robotics, digitalisation and data analytics to enhance productivity.

The state-of-the-art facility in Singapore is strategic to broadening SIAEC's capabilities in next generation aircraft, said its chief executive Png Kim Chiang in a statement.

"The joint venture will leverage on the joint strengths of GE's technical know-how and SIAEC's maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) experience, to offer high quality and competitive maintenance solutions for GE engines," he said.

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GE Aviation Services president and chief executive Jean Lydon-Rodgers said that the new joint venture will ensure that the firm's GE90 and GE9X operators have access to high quality MRO capabilities.

The GE90 engine exclusively powers the Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR, and the GE9X engine is the only one used for the Boeing 777X aircraft which is slated to enter into service in 2020.

With the joint venture, Singapore will become the only place in Asia-Pacific with significant engine overhaul capabilities from the top three original equipment manufacturers in commercial aviation, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran at the signing ceremony on Tuesday morning.

He noted that Singapore will also be the only place in the region with the capability to service the new-generation GE9X engine.

"Despite our small size, Singapore has one of the most advanced MRO clusters in the world, providing an array of 'nose to tail' MRO capabilities, and making up 10 per cent of global MRO output," he said.

"The new joint venture with GE is testament to the industry's confidence in Singapore's aerospace ecosystem, our strong talent pool in this sector, and excellent connectivity to the region and rest of the world."

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to become the world's largest aviation market and will account for almost 40 per cent of the global fleet in 20 years, he added.

"The Singapore aerospace industry will be well-positioned to tap on this opportunity to sustain our growth as long as we do our part to transform the industry," he said.

Singapore Economic Development Board assistant managing director Lim Kok Kiang said the new joint venture underscores Singapore's MRO leadership in Asia.

"Local engineers and technicians can look forward to acquiring sophisticated skillsets in data analytics, advanced materials and automation in this highly advanced facility, and pursue rewarding careers with leading names GE and SIAEC," he said.

The joint venture is not expected to have a material impact on SIAEC's financial performance in the 2017-2018 financial year.

Separately, GE Aviation said it will be investing S$42 million in a facility at Seletar Aerospace Park to manufacture high pressure compressor vanes for the GE9X engine. The firm has sold more than 700 of this engine.

Expected to open later this year, the 50,000 square foot factory will hire 20 employees for a start and eventually 100 skilled technicians and employees by 2020, adding to the company's current headcount of 1,800 employees.

The manufacturing of components for the GE9X engine is a critical part of the firm's production process, and the facility will therefore play a key role, said GE Aviation general manager of the GE9X program Ted Ingling.

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