The perennial problem in Chinese airframe and engine maintenance is attracting and retaining technicians. Bodenhage says the company has effective methods of finding people, but notes that an expansion in aviation activity in the area—for example, at Zhuhai-based general aviation manufacturer Caiga—could make things tougher. Competition for staff comes from non-aviation industries, too, such as automotives.
Keeping employees turns out not to be a problem, however. Bodenhage says annual turnover is significantly less than 5%. Wages across the industry are rising at about 10% a year.
Because of the rapid growth, the average worker at the site is still younger than 30. Experience takes time to accumulate, and so the company probably must always trail other MTU Maintenance narrowbody engine shops at Hanover, Germany, and Vancouver, British Columbia. It sends people to the other plants to help with work surges, and they pick up ideas there. In one case, still most unusual for a Chinese aviation operation, the skills flowed the other way: once, when the Vancouver facility had to quickly gear up its CFM56 work, experienced hands from Zhuhai were sent to help refresh the Canadian plant's skills.