by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
Airbus SE announced a new planned investment of about US$120 million (RM505 million) comprising three initiatives to boost Malaysia’s aviation and aerospace industry.
The Toulouse, France-headquartered airframe maker has planned to expand its wholly-owned maintenance facility Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), the establishment of the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative, and increase participation in the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC).
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said these initiatives will significantly enhance Airbus’ presence in Malaysia, which is one of its most important markets in Asia.
“They will strengthen further our win-win partnerships with Malaysia, contribute to the development of the Malaysian aerospace sector and enable Airbus to benefit from the competencies and skills available in the country,” he said after the MoA signing ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur today.
The MoA was signed by Faury and AirAsia Group Bhd EC Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, witnessed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
AirAsia has played a key role in identifying these initiatives and worked together with Airbus at its initial stage.
The SAE expansion includes the construction of a new hangar capable of accommodating four single-aisle or two wide-body aircraft for maintenance, repair, and overhaul, as well as the addition of new paint and component repair shops.
Meanwhile, the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative will involve works with local stakeholders to enhance the competitiveness of the local aerospace sector through the application of new technologies.
For AMIC, in which Airbus is a founding member, the company would appoint an innovation technical director and increase its funding for joint research programmes, including into the potential production of alternative and sustainable aviation biofuels in Malaysia.
Malaysia is Airbus’ third-largest market in the Asia Pacific after China and India.
Its sourcing and services businesses in the country now valued at about US$400 million a year.