Thailand Moves To Bolster MRO Amid Broader Aviation Development
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Thu, 5 Jul. 2018
Oxford Business Group
With the Asia-Pacific region set to be the fastest-growing market for commercial aviation over the next 20 years, Thailand is seeking to strengthen its aviation infrastructure, and particularly its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment.
A major step towards this took place in late June, when Thai Airways International (THAI) and European aerospace giant Airbus signed an agreement to proceed with a joint venture MRO facility at U-Tapao International Airport (UTIA).
According to the press release accompanying the deal’s announcement, the complex will allow for the analysis of aircraft maintenance data using the latest digital technologies, and will feature specialised repair shops and a maintenance-training centre.
The MRO centre will be one of a number of projects undertaken at UTIA in the coming years, with Uttama Savanayana, the minister of industry, revealing in late May that terms of reference for UTIA’s redevelopment as part of a regional aerospace centre called Eastern Airport City (EAC) were being drafted and would be released in July.
“The development of the airport should enable Thailand to create a vibrant and innovative MRO industry,” Pierre Jaffre, president of Asia-Pacific for Airbus Group, told OBG. “Furthermore, our joint venture MRO with THAI will allow us to create advanced maintenance facilities capable of handling all wide-body aircraft types.”
THAI and Airbus have been allocated a 32-ha plot within an 80-ha MRO centre, with initial operations to begin in 2022.
Citing rising demand for MRO services, THAI has projected annual revenue from the facility to average BT3bn ($90.5m) in the first 10 years of operation, rising to BT50bn ($1.5bn) in 50 years.