Message from the CEO

Frank Walschot

Chief Executive Officer

I am delighted to introduce the HAECO Group’s Sustainable Development (SD) Highlights for 2022, in which we define and reaffirm our sustainability goals and report on the progress made during the year. The report is divided into three sections – People, Environment, and Communities – that each reflect a core element of our sustainability mission as a global leader in the aircraft engineering and maintenance industry. The full technical details of our achievements in these three areas can be found in the SD Highlights. My aim in this message is to provide an overview of the motivations that are driving us towards our 2030 Sustainability Vision and give a few examples of our recent advances.

Our People: Safety

Safety is the bedrock on which our operations are built. First and foremost, we genuinely care for our employees and their families. That translates into a total complete commitment to keeping them safe in what can sometimes be a hazardous working environment. At HAECO, safety is also one of our core business values. Without a solid reputation for high safety standards, we would have difficulty attracting the people we need, and that could potentially impact our quality standards.

The core of our safety commitment is the desire to create and maintain a deeply ingrained safety culture throughout the Group. This involves detailed levels of safety reporting, meticulous attention to safety investigations, regularly updated safety training, and an organisation-wide buy-in to safety at all levels, from technicians to senior management. To this end, we launched a Group Safety and Quality Audit in conjunction with a new Group Quality and Safety Recognition Scheme that recognises superlative safety practices by individuals and teams. These and other initiatives have helped us drive down our 2022 injury rate by close to 50% compared to the previous year.

Our People: Diversity and Inclusion

When it comes to diversity, gender equality is our number-one priority at HAECO but also our leading challenge due to some fundamental demographic realities in the engineering industry. The hard reality is that our gender statistics are skewed by the available skills base. Skilled professionals on the technical and operational side of our business still tend to be male, despite efforts around the globe to encourage more women to join the engineering profession. Inevitably, this means that the talent pool for such positions has relatively fewer women.

Current statistics reveal that our male/female ratio stands at approximately 80:20, which is a long way off where we want and need to be. This ratio has remained relatively static over the years, although it disguises exactly how women are distributed throughout our business. We can change this situation, although it won’t happen overnight. In the past year, we have successfully increased the number of female graduates we have employed to 50% of the total, which is an encouraging step forward. To lower the risk of unrecognised biases skewing our employment practices, we carried out Unconscious Bias training for management and all employees in 2022 and set up our first-ever Women’s Mentoring programme that will help women in the Group progress with support from other women.

As with other areas of our sustainability efforts, gender representation potentially could have a very real impact on the future of our business. Our industry faces a significant labour shortage in the coming years, and we will miss out if we can’t attract more women into the workforce. That’s why we are motivated to push hard to raise gender diversity to meet our 2030 target of 30% female representation – not only from a strong sense that this is the right thing to do, but also because our industry will have to rely on women joining the workforce to thrive in the future.


It goes without saying that environmental sustainability is a priority for everyone and in every industry who cares about what kind of world we leave for our children and grandchildren. There is no excuse for businesses not to be working hard towards a net zero carbon position.

HAECO is part of an industry that is under particular scrutiny for its environmental impact, and we are determined to play a role in ensuring the aviation industry can minimise that impact. Although the Group’s carbon footprint is relatively small, it is important for our airline customers that they are working with partners and suppliers who are committed to sustainability.

There are also sound practical reasons for ensuring that our environmental practices are world-class. Increasingly, young people will take the sustainability commitment and environmental achievements of a business into account when choosing their career path. Unless we fully embrace every sustainability opportunity, we risk making it increasingly difficult to attract the talented young employees we need in the long term.  

Last year, we reported that we had begun a major Scope 3 carbon project designed to better understand our carbon footprint across the Group. We are progressing well, and I am hopeful that we will complete this significant project in 2023, providing us with quantifiable data that can make our future carbon-reduction initiatives more focused and effective. Given that “Purchased Goods and Services” makes up the bulk of our Scope 3 carbon emissions, we will focus our attention on launching more low carbon projects in collaboration with customers and suppliers.

We are also continuing to look closely at our water usage across HAECO. Last year we reported a reduction in the volume of water used for cleaning aircraft exteriors by employing dry wash techniques. We are working on ways to significantly reduce our internal water usage and avoid water wastage.

In addition, I’m pleased to report that we have made progress on our waste output, with more recycling of substances such as wood. There is still more we can do, and to this end we aim to carry out comprehensive waste audits at entities across the Group to create a clearer waste profile and identify more opportunities for reduction, reuse and recycling.


HAECO operates globally, with our main bases in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and the Americas. We have a special connection with the places in which we operate and an affinity with the communities that our business and staff are part of. That is why we focus our charity donations and volunteering efforts in these areas, investing in the communities we belong to and playing our role as a good corporate citizen to the full. As pandemic restrictions began to ease last year, we were relieved to finally be able to broaden our community initiatives. We contributed to more than 20 non-governmental and related organisations in 2022. Our efforts were wide-ranging and included support for young people in education, donations to groups supporting the vulnerable, environmental charities, and work on behalf of the underprivileged.

HAECO believes in the vital importance of sustainability for the future of our business, our industry, and our planet. We are an integral part of the aviation industry that must contribute to global sustainability efforts. Our commitments are real and are undertaken not as a PR exercise but because we have genuinely embraced sustainability as part of our corporate culture


Frank Walschot

Chief Executive Officer
April 2023