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【新“客家”洋人群英会】Inside Guangzhou’s aircraft maintenance business through the eyes of GAMECO’s German CEO 德国CEO带你走进广州飞机维修车间

2018-Oct-11       Source: Newsgd.com

If you travel to a foreign country, the airport is almost always the first place you arrive and your first taste of the unique vibe of a city or region.

GAMECO’s workshops [PhotoNewsgd.com]

If you travel to a foreign country, the airport is almost always the first place you arrive and your first taste of the unique vibe of a city or region.

Norbert Marx, CEO of Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (GAMECO), said his friends are always impressed by the convenience of Baiyun Airport when come and visit him in Guangzhou. “Smooth, clean and spacious are their first impressions. ”

Their experience has to be attributed to the city’s efforts in developing its aviation industry with the aim of becoming an international aviation hub. On September 15th, it just hosted the World Route Development Forum, which gathered aviation enterprises and investors from across the globe, and brought more opportunities to the city.

To gain more insight into this booming industry, we went through a series of security checks on Friday morning to visit Norbert Marx at his office which is located right beside the new Terminal 2. Inside it has giant aircraft being taxied around.


Reported by Jasmine Yin, Rebecca Tao

Edited by Wing Zhang, Simon Haywood

Photo by Shi Lei

Guangzhou’s aviation “fullback”: lifting, expanding and beyond

Marx in front of his meeting room windows [PhotoShi Lei]

Immediately after we arrived at his office, Norbert Marx guided us to a meeting room with a row of windows that he loves very much. Through the window, we could see GAMECO’s workshop---hangers, technicians and aircraft being fixed.

“This is what we do,” said Norbert, “we take care of the aircraft and make sure that they are safe and, technically reliable when you fly for vacation or business.”

Similar to a lot of his fellow German’s, Norbert Marx loves football and he compared the development of the aviation industry to playing football because, in his words, both of them require good teamwork. “Airport, customs, airlines and aviation companies like GAMECO have to be solid and create a good environment to boost development”.

As for Guangzhou, he thinks the city naturally finds itself in a strong position to develop aviation, and become the ‘south gate’ of China.

“When I worked in Beijing in 1994, China was recognized as a big market (but) without strong capabilities. But that has changed,” he said, “the industry is growing rapidly here with many good problems considering growth and efficiency. These are challenges and opportunities that you cannot find in many other countries nowadays.”

GAMECO’s workshops [PhotoNewsgd.com]

Norbert said one of their most recent challenges and opportunities has been Baiyun Airport’s expansion into Terminal 2 (T2). Four airlines including China Southern Airline, GAMECO’s biggest customer, moved to the new terminal since April 26th, which means the company now have to cover both T1 and T2.

“The opportunity is obvious. Guangzhou can handle more passengers with more aircraft landing and taking off, which directly brings more business,” he said, “but it’s also challenging as the area T2 covers is very big. We have to have more mechanics and move the airport toll trucks and lots of supplies, such as, hydraulic power and air conditionining.”

Norbert disclosed that the company has been hiring more people and building more hangers and workshops. It has also invested a lot in technology including digital solutions for composite parts. “We keep improving our capacity and efficiency, for example, whilst we hired forty percent more people, our revenue has more than doubled.”

“The aviation industry is born to be global, international”

Norbert Marx has been in the aviation industry since the 1980s with work experience in Germany, Switzerland, Canada and U.S. From his perspective, people are one of Guangzhou’s key advantages.

Compared to the Beijing company he worked for in the 90’s, Norbert said GAMECO has much less foreign employees. “The know-how transfer was important at that time, however, we have caught up in the industry now and are able to form a really good team by hiring and training local people.”

GAMECO first earned a spot on the Aviation Week’s compilation of the world’s top ten maintenance, repair and overhaul providers in 2015 since which the company has maintained their position on the list. [Photomro-network.com]

Having less foreign employees illustrates the changing demands on maintaining international relationships. Norbert Marx said what GAMECO needs is a bridge to connect itself with partners outside of China. And this is exactly his role in the company.

“Aviation is a global industry,” he said, “aircraft maintenance is done under the approval of different countries’ authorities, and done with different business partners from abroad. So I’m the accountable party to these authorities and business partners.”

Marx believes that his previous experience will help create confidence and a business environment that can attract business from overseas companies to Guangzhou. “We will see an aircraft soon coming from Lufthansa, my former employer. I think this is because Lufthansa thinks GAMECO is competent, but also because they have somebody here that can help them if they have some trouble.”

Norbert Marx mentioned many examples of GAMECO cooperating with its overseas partners such as GE, FedEx and Airbus. And one in particular: the company announced co-operation with Boeing in February this year. This contract will cover seven different projects such as composite part care and passenger to freighter conversion. [Photooeeee.com]

When asked about why he chose to stay in the city, Norbert said there are many big projects going on. He feels it is his responsibility to bring them to fruition if it was him that suggested them in the first place. Meanwhile, he also feels a lot of trust from his teams, directors and shareholders, which gives him a lot of motivation.

It has been seven years since Norbert Marx came to Guangzhou because of a phone call about a job offer from GAMECO.

“In the past, big cities developed around railway stations or harbors. But now they develop around airports. So I’m excited about the Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District because I think it's managed well and has become (a center of) gravity that has attracted lots of business. I hope that Guangzhou, a city that many people in Europe don't know of, even though it is so big and so important, will be a major aviation hub in the near future,” he said.




      广州飞机维修工程有限公司(GAMECO)的总经理Norbert Marx说,如果有朋友从德国来广州,他们总会对白云机场印象深刻,赞赏通关、行李服务和接驳交通都非常便利。“流场、干净、宽敞通常是他们的第一印象。”


      周五早晨,我们通过层层安检,来到坐落于白云机场T2航站楼旁的GAMECO。一进大门,办公楼尽处来往的“庞然大物”马上吸引了我们的目光,我们的目的地——Norbert Marx的办公室就在停机坪旁边,今日,他将带我们走进广州蓬勃发展的航空维修行业。












       自上世纪八十年代踏入航空产业,Norbert Marx俨然是位老行尊了,他拥有在德国、美国、瑞士、加拿大等多国的工作经 验。在他看来,“人”是广州谋发展的主要优势。





       Marx 认为他的工作经历可以给外国的航空企业带来信心,并为广州营造一个良好的商业环境,从而带来更多的海外业务。“我在德国汉莎航空曾工作过很长一段时间,而我们马上要迎接一架来自汉莎的飞机了,我想这一方面是对GAMECO实力的认可,另一方面是汉莎觉得将来如果遇到什么问题,也有个‘老熟人’在这里帮忙。”






Editor: Jasmine

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