Airbus poised for take-off in Thailand’s MRO hub

19-Feb-2019 Intellasia | Nation Multimedia | 6:00 AM Print This Post

UNCERTAINTY over the political situation in Thailand is apparently not shared by French investors in the aeronautical industry, who have expressed confidence in the Kingdom’s push to become a regional hub for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which first set up shop in Thailand more than 40 years ago, said the MRO sector offered enormous potential for the country’s aerospace business in the coming years. France Airbus and national flag carrier Thai Airways International last June launched a joint venture for MRO facilities at U-tapao Airport, in a deal overseen in France by junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha. Prayut is seeking to extend his tenure as prime minister after next month’s election. The MRO facility at U-tapao is part of the military government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) strategy and enjoys strong support from the business community, which has called for its continued rollout after the March 24 election.

“We are looking forward to the future as Thailand has good prospects and potential for [developing] the aeronautical industry, given its strong supply chain based on automobile and electronics industries,” said Sihasak Phuangketkeow, a former Thai ambassador to France in an interview with The Nation. Sihasak helped close the MRO deal last year and is now an adviser to the EEC project. The MRO will be a key piece of the aeronautics industry in Asean, given that many airlines had bolstered their fleets with new planes in recent years and those aircraft now need maintenance, said Cedric Post, the French Aerospace Industry Association’s deputy director for European and international affairs. Fast-growing budget airlines such as AirAsia and Vietjet continue to add aircraft, which will require maintenance and even overhauls in the next few years, added Post. The in-service fleets in the Asia Pacific region will grow in size from 6,900 aircraft to over 20,000 in the next 20 years, according to Airbus.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30364304

 


Category: Thailand

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