Airbus announced plans to develop further its industrial presence in Malaysia with three new initiatives. These include the expansion of Airbus’ wholly-owned maintenance facility, Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE); the establishment of the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative; and an increased participation in the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC).
The projects are covered by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed today in Kuala Lumpur by Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury and AirAsia Group Bhd Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun. The MOA was signed in the presence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia. Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Group, who has played a key role in identifying the potential initiatives, was also present at the signing.
“These initiatives will significantly enhance our presence in Malaysia, which is one of our most important markets in Asia,” said Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer, Airbus. “They will strengthen further our win-win partnerships with Malaysia, contribute to the development of the Malaysian aerospace sector and enable Airbus to benefit from the competencies and skills available in the country.”
Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Group said: “AirAsia is proud to play a leading role in advancing Malaysia’s aerospace industry, which is in line with the country’s vision to open up more aerospace hubs to support the growing aviation industry and create more high-value job opportunities for Malaysians. We will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to achieve this objective.”
The expansion of SAE will include the construction of a new hangar capable of accommodating four single-aisle or two wide-body aircraft for heavy checks, as well as the addition of new paint and component repair shops. The facilities will be ready to incorporate the latest smart technologies, including data analysis and planning using the Airbus Skywise digital platform and automated inspection techniques.
Under the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative, Airbus will work with local stakeholders to develop a master plan and select and perform dedicated projects to enhance the competitiveness of the Malaysian aerospace sector through the application of new digital technologies. The initiative will also contribute to the alignment of Malaysian industrial partners with new processes and systems being introduced by Airbus across its manufacturing and supply chain.
Building on its position as a founding member of AMIC, today’s agreement will see Airbus appoint an Innovation Technical Director to support the non-profit organisation and increase its funding for joint research programmes. These will include research at AMIC into the potential production of alternative and sustainable aviation biofuels in Malaysia.
Airbus is the largest international partner for the Malaysian aerospace industry, with its sourcing and services businesses in the country now valued at some $400 million (U.S.) per year for the local economy. The company’s activities currently sustain employment for over 4,000 Malaysians in the country’s fast-growing aviation sector.
Malaysian suppliers are involved in a wide range of Airbus programmes, producing components and structures for the A320 Family, A330neo, A350 XWB, A380 and A400M. Meanwhile, SAE specialises in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of A320 Family and ATR aircraft, with customers including AirAsia Group, Malaysia Airlines, Scoot, Indigo, Jetstar Asia, VietJet and Bangkok Airways.
In addition to SAE, Airbus also operates a Customer Services Centre at Sepang offering specialised aircraft complex repairs embodiment, structure repair design and Flight Hour Services (FHS) operations.
Malaysia is also the regional hub for Airbus Helicopters, offering customer support, MRO and training services from its facility at Subang. The facility has recently been expanded with the opening of a new state-of-the-art helicopter completion and delivery centre for the region.