Airbus gears up to meet demand post Covid-19

Activities have began to pick up very quickly particularly in China, India and the US, pointing towards a recovery

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AIRBUS SE is well-positioned to meet the expected demand for more aircraft once air traffic in Malaysia and countries in the region returns to normalcy post-Covid-19.

President of Airbus Asia Pacific, Anand Stanley (picture), said the company is geared up and more focused on working with its customers to be ready for a post-pandemic world.

He said activities have started to pick up very quickly particularly in China, India and the US, which are pointing towards a recovery.

“Malaysia is a key country in the Asean region. Malaysia and Asean will resume a strong growth pattern post-Covid-19.

“The demand for people to fly will be higher in this region and the airlines will have a strong role to play to resume and meet that demand. This, in turn, will have a strong multiplier effect on trade and economy in the region,” Stanley said at a media roundtable in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said as soon as domestic travel resumes Airbus envisions border openings at a regional level, such as within Asean, followed by intercontinental or long-haul travel.

Stanley also said low-cost carriers would play a key role in enabling more people to fly and support the growth post-pandemic.

He added that the company is committed to expanding its industrial presence in Malaysia beyond the recent pre-pandemic levels of US$400 million (RM1.64 billion) a year.

The airframe maker’s industrial activities and procurements in Malaysia have not been at the pre-pandemic levels at present, partly due to restrictions induced by the pandemic, said Stanley.

“Airbus, which experienced a 40% reduction in global production last year, would recalibrate its delivery and production system to match the demand post-pandemic.

“At the end of 2020, Airbus delivered 566 units of commercial aircraft deliveries,” he added.

Malaysia is Airbus’ largest supplier base in South-East Asia and third in the Asia Pacific after China and India, with 14 local companies producing structures, components and parts for the complete range of civil aircraft and the A400M military transporter.

Additionally, Airbus operates several facilities in the country including an engineering centre and maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Sepang and the regional hub for its helicopter business in Subang, Selangor.

Besides the commercial aircraft segment, Stanley said Airbus is proposing its latest generation of C295 MPA maritime patrol aircraft for surveillance solution.

There are currently some 300 Airbus aircraft in the fleets of airlines in the country and about 80 Airbus helicopters are in-service in the military, civil and parapublic operations.

The Royal Malaysia Air Force is the first operator of the all-new A400M transporter in the region.