South Korea’s flag carrier airline Korean Air has begun construction on a new aircraft engine maintenance cluster near Incheon International Airport to boost its maintenance capacity and strengthen the company’s MRO business. 

The Won578bn ($437m) project includes seven levels across more than 140,000m2 and will be built next to the company’s Engine Test Cell (ETC) to streamline a process that currently sees engines moved from the maintenance facility in Bucheon to the ETC in Unbuk. 

As Korea’s sole operator of specialised facilities for commercial aircraft engine overhauls, Korean Air’s MRO services cater not only to its own fleet but also to international carriers such as Delta and China Southern with capability to service six different engine models from Pratt & Whitney, General Electric (GE), and CFM International (CFMI). 

As a result of the expansion of its engine maintenance facilities, the company is planning on adding support for three more engine models to its offerings including GE’s GEnx, CFMI’s LEAP-1B. 

Additionally, the company said it was considering adding servicing for engines used by Asiana Airlines, including the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, amid its ongoing attempts to gain approval for its acquisition of the airline

Walter Cho, chairman and CEO of Korean Air, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new centre, he said: “The engine is like the heart of the airplane. Korean Air pledges to uphold the highest standards of safety, and is committed to elevating Korea’s competitive edge in a highly specialized sector of aviation.” 

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Construction on the new centre, which is being undertaken by Kolon Global, is planned to see it open in 2027.