MRO ST Aerospace Adds Charter

 - May 4, 2013, 12:25 AM

Singapore state-owned ST Aerospace, known for its MRO operation and its passenger-to-freighter conversions, also runs a small business jet charter operation. Subsidiary Pacific Flight Services (PFS) operates from Singapore, although its four jets are registered in Australia.

Scattered among the 737s, 757s and A320s being overhauled in the company’s three hangars at Seletar airport are a Gulfstream G550, a Learjet 35 and a Learjet 45. A pre-owned Gulfstream G150 will join the fleet soon. Most of the flying is contracted through brokers, Goh Yong Kiat, senior vice president for the defense business at ST Aero, told AIN. The number of wealthy individuals wanting to visit the island state has been on the rise since two major casino resorts were opened in 2010-11, he noted.

The company acquired the G550 two years ago and used its long range to fly nonstop charters to and from Australia, Europe, Japan and Russia. The Learjet 35A is used mainly to provide target-towing services to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). ST Aero took on the contract and the aircraft when it acquired PFS in 2000. When the aircraft was not flying for the RSAF, the company offered it for charters. ST Aero soon realized that the type was well suited to the aeromedical evacuation business and acquired the Learjet 45 for the same mission. Singapore boasts some world-class hospitals, and the two Learjets bring patients to the island from China, India, Indonesia and other countries in the region. PFS is one of the nominated service providers for International SOS.

PFS also owns two Beech King Airs. It operates–and provides the instructor pilots for–a C90GTi for the RSAF for multi-engine pilot training. The new King Air replaces an older B90, which is now used by the ST Aerospace Academy. This commercial flying training school does a limited amount of flying from Seletar, but is based in Ballarat, Australia. The academy is licensed by Australia, China, the JAA and Singapore, and has trained pilots for five Chinese airlines as well as Singapore’s own Tiger Airways.

Goh told AIN that ST Aero has rebuilt a hangar at Seletar to cater to a growing MRO business in the general aviation and helicopter segments. “This has not previously been a big focus for us, but the number of private operators in the region is growing.” The company already holds 23 repair station approvals.

A separate company, Helicopter Flight Services (HFS) was formed to own and maintain five Eurocopter EC120s the RSAF uses for helicopter pilot training. They are military-registered, but HFS owns a sixth EC120 that is available for charter. It has been used for filming and parachute stunts as well as passenger transport.