The proposed hub would expedite the aim of increasing the number of business jets in Malaysia
By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is expected to establish the country’s first dedicated private jet hub and terminal — to be built within the Subang Skypark area — within the next three years. MAHB MD Datuk Mohd Badlisham Ghazali said the proposed terminal, part of the Subang Regeneration Initiative, would expedite the aim of increasing the number of business jets in Malaysia from about 50 to more than 150 jets within the next five years.
“There will be one designated terminal for private jets — a partnership with Subang Skypark. The new facility will be bigger, more private and it will utilise a further infield inside Subang,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
At present, Malaysia does not have any exclusive business aviation (BizAv) terminal, but the Subang Skypark terminal — also referred to as Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (LTSAAS) — has the Skypark Business Aviation Centre (BAC) that serves the private and corporate aviation sector.
Skypark BAC, handled by Skypark’s fixed-based operator (FBO), offers services from take-off and landing permits; customs, immigration and quarantine clearance; as well as lounges, ground handling, support services and hangarage facilities.
LTSAAS also hosts other FBOs, including Redland Aviation Services Sdn Bhd and Smooth Route Sdn Bhd.
Meanwhile, Senai International Airport in Johor now houses FBOs like Executive Jets Asia Sdn Bhd and Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd.
Mohd Badlisham said the project would allow Malaysia to tap into the BizAv segment which currently suffers from a lack of space.
“There are about 5,000 business jets flying around. The global issue now is space, especially in Asia. It’s already quite full in Hong Kong, Singapore and even in some Chinese cities,” Mohd Badlisham added.
Apart from the new terminal, Mohd Badlisham said the Subang air site regeneration programme will enhance its offerings to the BizAv communities with aircraft upgrading facilities, which include the jet interior.
Subang Skypark is now also the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub for several companies, including Australian-based Hawker Pacific (M) Sdn Bhd and ExecuJet Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Hawker Pacific was granted by French business jet maker Dassault Aviation SA to be an authorised service centre for Falcon 8X, Falcon 7X, Falcon 2000EX Easy-and Falcon 900EX EASy-series aircraft last year.
In 2010, the company was named as the authorised service centre for US-based Beechcraft King Air turbo-props in the region.
Meanwhile, ExecuJet Malaysia is a Bombardier Inc-authorised service facility and a limited Gulfstream Aerospace Corp-authorised warranty facility.
It provides maintenance support for Bombardier Challenger 600, Learjet 60 and Gulfstream G200, GIV and GV aircraft.
In 2008, Smooth Route associate company SR Aviation Sdn Bhd was appointed as a Cessna Aircraft Co citation-authorised service facility.
MRO demand rises on the growth of the BizAv in the region.
Dassault senior VP of civil aircraft Carlos Brana revealed to TMR recently that the industry has been growing between 3% and 5% yearly in South-East Asia, with the main interest being the medium-range airplanes rather than the long-range or large jets.
“Considering a 3% growth out of 50 airplanes, we are more than happy if we sell one or two new airplanes every year (in the South-East Asian countries),” Brana told TMR at the company’s new business jet Falcon 6X programme at Paris Le Bourget Airport recently.
Despite still being a young market compared to the US and Europe, Malaysia is Dassault’s biggest market in South-East Asia with 12 Falcons.
Recently, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer SA delivered its first Legacy 500 midsize business jet to an undisclosed customer in Malaysia, as announced at the Singapore Airshow 2018.
Malaysia is also the second-biggest market for private jet charter company VistaJet International Ltd in Asia, after China.
Data from the Asian Sky Group Fleet Report Year-End 2016 showed that Bombardier and Gulfstream were the top two business jet fleet by original equipment manufacturer in Malaysia, with 17 each from the total 48 aircraft, ahead of Dassault, Cessna Aircraft and Embraer, among others.
Large jets dominated this market with 31%, or 15 aircraft, based in Malaysia.