Dassault sees growth at Subang Airport

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR

Dassault Aviation SA said it has acquired ExecuJet Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business at Subang Airport due to the potential growth in Asia.

Dassault president (Asia Pacific) Jean-Michel Jacob said the MRO business — which the company had agreed to purchase earlier this year — would be its first aircraft services facility in Asia.

He said the 64,000 sq ft facility in Subang is the largest business aviation MRO in Malaysia, supporting a number of original equipment manufacturers from within and outside the region.

“Malaysia is an important centre for business aviation and is our largest South-East Asian market. It is expected to achieve further growth.

“To anticipate this growth, Dassault decided that it is important to have a factory-owned service centre in the region,” he told a media briefing in Subang yesterday.

Jacob said moving forward, it is crucial to attract new aircraft owners to the outlet as many business aviation players are used to going to Seletar MRO.

“We have to make them realise that there is such a support service here in Subang. That may take some time,” he said.

“I believe this airport (Subang), which is not busy, has room for growth. So, in our mind, it has a big future,” he added.

ExecuJet Malaysia is part of ExecuJet’s global MRO network, which includes operations in Africa, Europe, Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

Execujet Malaysia GM Ivan Lim said, upon acquisition, the company is expected to provide Falcon customers with a choice of service facilities and complement Dassault’s pre-existing support network in the region, which includes authorised third-party service centres and regional sales office in Kuala Lumpur.

Dassault produces a range of Falcon business aircraft. Currently, the company offers a range of six business jets from the twin-engine 3,350 nautical miles (nm)/6,204km large-cabin Falcon 2000S to its flagship tri-engine 6,450nm ultra-long range Falcon 8X and the new ultra-wide body cabin Falcon 6X.

After the acquisition is formalised, Lim said the MRO facility will be doubled to between 100,000 sq ft and 150,000 sq ft from the current 64,000 sq ft.

He said the land acquisition will fall on Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) jurisdiction.

“We expect to expand it further to 100,000 sq ft or 150,000 sq ft. However, we have to wait for MAHB calls, as to how they think it could fit into their Subang Airport Regeneration Initiative masterplan.

“We have also inked a memorandum of understanding with them at the Farnborough International Airshow (in England) last year (on this matter),” Lim said.

Lim said currently, the MRO facility serves around 30 to 34 personal jets a month at around 20,000 to 25,000 man-hours per annum.

The MRO provider expects to serve between 45 and 50 planes monthly, with up to 35,000 annual man-hours upon the new MRO completion, slated by next year.

“After we make necessary investments such as tooling, workforce upskilling and hangar expansion, and add necessary spaces, we could serve around 45 to 50 aircraft a month by 2020,” he said, adding that the first model of Falcon is expected to be served before the end of the year.

Lim said the move would translate into the company projection of a steady double-digit growth between 20% and 25% a year.

The company is now employing 45 workers and is expected to add more manpower to around 75 employees within three years, mainly high-skilled engineers.

Currently, Dassault has around 10 business jets in Malaysia from a total of 60 private aircraft. There are about 120 private jets in the Asia-Pacific region. Dassault projects to deliver around 45 aircraft across the globe this year.

Recently, Dassault has also entered into an agreement with the business aviation operator TAG Aviation Group, acquiring the company’s MRO business to cater to the European aircraft after-sales market.

Jacob said Dassault Aviation Group will have a strong presence at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition beginning today, including the company’s Falcon 8X flagship aircraft on display. The 6,450nm range Falcon 8X can fly from Kuala Lumpur to London non-stop.