Aerospace industry can rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, says Azmin

PETALING JAYA: The aerospace industry can rebound and regain pre-pandemic revenue levels as early as next year, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pic).

The International Trade and Industry Minister said the recovery is possible provided Malaysia continues to capture new work packages with a positive impact on the whole ecosystem through product localisation.

"The recovery will be expedited if the industry can further expand its air cargo services, business aviation, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul), as well as professional training services," he said in his keynote address at the Airbus Malaysia Connect webinar on Thursday (April 22).

Azmin said the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted Malaysia's aerospace industry and continues to weigh heavily on our national economy, with the country's aerospace revenue dropping 20% to 30% last year from 2019's revenue of RM16.22bil.

Commercial aviation, he said, was the most impacted sub-sector due to the closure of international borders and the limitation of domestic travel.

"Both aerospace manufacturing and MRO businesses have been experiencing deferment of orders and heavy maintenance services.

"Most of the manufacturing and services activities of aerospace were halted, while some of the workforces were laid off due to the worldwide travel restrictions, grounding commercial and business aircraft," he said.

However, as aircraft manufacturers temporarily revised production rates downwards to adapt to the new depleted market environment, Azmin noted that he was pleased that there are those in the supply chain ecosystem that took advantage of the demand slowdown to re-set their finances in new technology and capability development.

He also said the government has done its part by announcing five aerospace projects aimed at reviving the industry and maintaining its competitiveness globally, as reflected in the national budget.

"I commend our aerospace players for demonstrating resilience as well as resourcefulness in the face of adversity and the manifold challenges of the past year.

"Even as we begin to see the silver lining, I urge the aerospace community to continue to adapt and be ready for whatever lies ahead. As they say, tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

"As we forge ahead to seize new opportunities, it is imperative that the government and the industry work together strategically to get this key economic sector flying high again and soar to new levels of achievement and excellence," he added.

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