KOTA KINABALU: An aerospace training centre at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) is expected to start operations by May next year.
The first intake will involve 200 students, with a year of learning on campus, followed by practical training with airlines and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies for a few years.
Sabah Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau revealed this latest development after witnessing a signing ceremony between regional carrier MASwings and an international MRO company on Wednesday (May 15) evening.
"We (state government) have a subsidiary company in KKIP, and the main point is to provide training for youths to become certified engineers and technicians.
"The building plan for the centre is done. We are awaiting approval and going through procedure with the Tuaran district council, as the local authority responsible.
"The funding will come from the federal government," he told reporters.
Madius had previously announced the formation of such a centre, which is expected to help Sabah grow its aerospace industry and strengthen Kota Kinabalu as a regional aviation hub.
Meanwhile, the event saw MASwings and Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFI-KLM E & M) inking a document that is expected to enhance the reliability record of MASwings aircraft.
The five-year agreement up to May 7, 2024 will see the regional airline's fleet of 10 ATR72s undergo maintenance at the Singapore-based service centre and component solutions shop.
MASwings chief executive officer Aminuddin Zakaria, who signed on behalf of the company, said AFI-KLM E&M was not new to the Malaysia Airlines Group as it had already proven its ability with MAS' B737s and A380s.
"Through this effort, MASwings will always get the latest standard component as all the repairs and modifications will be undertaken solely by AFI-KLM as a one-stop centre," he said.
On another matter, he said the government had imposed key performance indicators (KPIs) for MASwings under the new Public Service Obligation (PSO) agreement for rural air services effective this year until end 2024.
Criteria in the KPIs include On-Time Performance (OTP) where an aircraft is expected to depart within 15 minutes of scheduled time.
"We are also expected to reduce our cancellation rate, which is at 1% per month, so we will strive to do below that.
"The other KPI area is Consumer Satisfaction Score (to be conducted by external surveyor). In the past, some complaints we had was on food and beverage, like how we were unable to serve hot food," he elaborated.
AFI-KLM E&M was represented by its Asia-Pacific vice-resident of sales, Dominik Wiener Silva, at the signing ceremony.