Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp (EGAT, 長榮航太) plans to invest NT$370 million (US$12.09 million) building a new domestic plant primarily for repairing engine components to increase the firm’s efficiency, parent company EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) said on Thursday.

EGAT has signed a contract with Ever Accord Construction Corp (長友營造), an affiliate of Evergreen Group (長榮集團), which is to complete construction of the new plant by the end of next year, EVA spokesman David Chen (陳耀銘) told a news conference in Taipei.

The new three-story factory with total floor area of 13,495m2 is expected to start operations in early 2021, Chen said, adding that it would be built next to EGAT’s plant in Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音區).

EGAT, a joint venture with General Electric Co (GE), is one of the nation’s leading aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul firms, which provides services for more than 40 airlines.

EVA holds an 80 percent stake in EGAT, while GE owns the remaining 20 percent.

EFFICIENCY BOOST

Engine maintenance plays an increasingly important role for EGAT as the high-value business accounts for 70 percent of its workload, with aircraft part repairs making up the remaining 30 percent, the company said.

However, EGAT currently cannot fix all the engine parts it receives, so it often has to send parts to the GE in the US to have them fixed, it said.

“The process usually takes three months. We hope to advance our ability and be licensed by GE to repair more parts in the new plant, so we can save time and money, and boost our efficiency,” Chen said.

EGAT declined to elaborate on which components it would aim to fix or which local engine suppliers it has partnerships with, telling the Taipei Times that it would focus on the parts with higher margins and that it is “open-minded” when looking for business partners.

The new factory is expected to help EGAT become an “one stop” workshop and gain more business opportunities, Chen said.

RECRUITMENT

Asian low-cost carriers have created momentum for the aircraft maintenance industry and EGAT would be aiming to get more orders from the budget airlines, he said.

The firm, which has 3,600 employees, said that it might consider recruiting more once the expansion plan has been completed.

EGAT posted a net profit of NT$1.09 billion in the first half of this year, down 14.8 percent year-on-year, company data showed.