South African Airways Technical (SAAT) and British industrial technology company Rolls-Royce has commenced a partnership that will help SAAT deliver improved aircraft availability and skills.
The two entities will work together on a facility based at the SAAT premises in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The facility is capable of storing a full range of Rolls-Royce engine types to meet the requirements of airline and business jet customers based or operating in Africa.
“This partnership between Rolls-Royce and SAAT is critical in many respects. It will not only allow SAAT the ability to store engines at this facility — in compliance with engine manual requirements of Rolls-Royce — but it will equip [SAAT] with the capability and capacity to offer technical support on a full range of Rolls-Royce engine types,” said Thandi Phele, acting Deputy Director-General responsible for industrial development at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
“[This will be in order] to meet the requirements of airline and jet customers based or operating in Africa. This is key for South Africa as an investment destination in Africa,” Phele said on Wednesday at the opening of the company’s first lease engine storage facility in Africa.
Rolls-Royce will train SAAT staff to enable them conduct work on engines in storage. The long-term goal is for SAAT mechanics to be capable of performing a range of inspection and on-wing services to Rolls-Royce customers on the continent, a statement said.
Phele stressed that South Africa will benefit from Rolls-Royce’s technical know-how. “Going forward, we want to partner more on technology transfer and; research and development in the aspects of engine maintenance,” she added.
SAAT’s acting Chief Executive Officer Wellington Nyuswa said the agreement will enable the company to demonstrate its capabilities to Rolls-Royce, a company SAAT has had a long-standing relationship with.
“It dovetails with our strategy to seek further revenue generating opportunities, and will enable our vision to be Africa’s leading world-class maintenance, repair and overhaul company,” said Nyuswa.
SAAT remains the cash cow of the loss-making South African Airways. However, the maintenance, repair and overhaul (
The partnership with Rolls-Royce could not have come at a better time for SAAT and the company is committed to getting the full benefits.
The Vice President Customers Africa at Rolls-Royce, Kevin Evans, said the opening of the facility marks the start of a journey that will see SAAT play an expanding role in the development of available services across Africa.