Jet set: Najib looking at a model of an Airbus jet at KLIA in Sepang. Looking on is Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Bergier.
SEPANG: Malaysia has consolidated its position as one of the three leading countries in the Asia Pacific area for aircraft maintenance, repairs and overhaul (MRO) services.
This was acknowledged by aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which has set up a new Airbus Customer Services Centre for specialised aerospace engineering services here.
The centre, located adjacent to the Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) facility, represents an expansion of Airbus’ global network of offices providing 24/7 specialised major engineering and repair services.
Existing offices offering these services are in Toulouse, Hamburg, Wichita and Beijing.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who officiated the launch of the construction of the hangar at the SAE facility yesterday, said SAE would be able to offer world-class maintenance services to airlines from across the region and beyond while the new Airbus Customer Services facility would put Malaysia on the international map as a centre for specialised aerospace engineering services.
“Both initiatives will significantly enhance our position in this high-value business.
“It will also provide further proof that Malaysia is a major player in the MRO business in the region,” he said.
Najib added that Malaysia had thus identified the MRO business as one of the sectors in the Business Services Entry National Key Econo-mic Areas (NKEAs).
He said the MRO sector was projected to grow by 10% annually and new projects were expected to create 20,000 jobs in the country.
“This year, our Entry Point Projects target is RM380mil in revenue from fleet technical management and RM2.4bil from airframe MRO,” he said.
Najib said several initiatives were already under way to develop the MRO ecosystem, including the greater development of Malaysia’s airport infrastructure, the availability of land and the creation of more conducive operating environment through improved tax and civil aviation regulations.
“We are confident these (initiatives) will continue to make Malaysia a preferred MRO destination,” he said.
Najib added that Malaysia had been able to stay competitive because of the sheer volume of business in this region, coupled with its advantage of an early foray into the sector and an edge in quality human capital at far more competitive rates.
“Our superior cost position is powerfully attractive to airline customers,” he said.
Airbus president and chief executive officer Fabrice Bregier said the new hangar, which would specialise in the maintenance and overhaul of Airbus single-aisle aircraft, would have a floor area of 13,000 sq metres and be capable of accommodating three A320-family aircraft.
As for the services centre, he said it represented an expansion of the manufacturer’s global network of offices providing specialised major aircraft engineering and repair services around the clock.
The Malaysian centre would provide employment for over 100 skilled engineers and mechanics.
Bregier said the commitment showed by Airbus reflected the enormous potential the company saw for the aerospace industry in South-East Asia.