In 1953 the former National Airways Corporation (NAC) which is now part of Air New Zealand transferred its maintenance and engineering division from Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand to Christchurch International Airport on the east coast of the South Island. This airport on the north west edge of Christchurch city had developed from what was the Royal New Zealand Air Force base at Harewood during the second world war. Pratt & Whitney radial R1830 , R1340 and R985 engines had been overhauled there since 1948 and this section became fully developed as NAC Engineering in the 1950s. Overhaul of Pratt & Whitney radials continued here until their withdrawl from service in the early 1970s.
In 1958, NAC introduced the Vickers Viscount powered by the Rolls Royce Dart turboprop. Full overhaul capability for the airframe, components and the Dart engine along with a test cell, was introduced as a result. The isolation of New Zealand at that time made self-sufficiency a necessity and the further purchase of the Fokker F27 (with Dart engines) in 1960 by NAC added to the demand. A fleet of nearly forty Dart powered aircraft of NAC and its customers was generated by the 1970s and maintained through the 1980s.In 1968 the former NAC purchased the Boeing 737-200 and full overhaul and test capability for both the aircraft and the JT8D engine began. This has continued ever since with the support of customers becoming a major part of the company.
Since 1990 it has expanded further, including the introduction of JT8D-200 capabilities in 1996, to become one of the JT8D contractors of choice for some of the world's top passenger and freight airlines in the US, Asia and Europe. In April 2001, the engine overhaul business at Christchurch International Airport was sold to the Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services partnership, a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney (51%) and Air New Zealand Limited (49%). A second partnership to introduce full MRO and testing capability for the IAE V2500 was completed in early 2005 with the completion of the new Orchard Road facility. The entire V2500 and Dart MRO business now operates under the one partnership. This facility, operated in close consultation with IAE and Pratt & Whitney, will continue the tradition of excellence using the same principles focusing on customer service that have already made this business a success in the MRO market worldwide.