KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia Airlines’ engineering and maintenance division aspires to become one of the biggest MROs in the region. To do this, it will need to expand beyond maintaining the airline group’s 112 aircraft and start offering third-party maintenance services.
While the timeframe and which specific services it plans to offer is unclear, the variables that are concrete include Malaysia Airlines has excess hangar capacity and a skilled workforce qualified to perform the work, says Eke Nazri Tahim, head of the airline’s engineering and maintenance division, speaking at Aviation Week’s MRO Southeast Asia event. “With minimum investment, we could embark on third-party work,” he says.
The timing coincides with a couple drivers: the Malaysia government created a blueprint for the country to become “the number one aerospace nation in Southeast Asia” by 2030 and capture at least a 5% share of the global MRO market, which Aviation Week forecasts to be worth $7X in 2019. In addition, the Asia-Pacific region will become home to the majority of the world’s fleet: about 40% of the commercial aircraft deliveries will be to Asia-Pacific over the next two decades. Because of this, expect the MRO market demand to shift.
This step is part of Malaysia Airlines’ engineering and maintenance group’s transformation plan that started in 2016 to make it a high-performing organization. Over the last couple years, it has increased its productivity, streamlined processes and made itself more competitive, says Nazri.
While “the journey ahead is tough” because the aftermarket is very competitive, the airlines engineering and maintenance group has invested significantly over the past two years and has achieved significant goals.
It has ramped up Airbus A380 maintenance. Its fifth A380 heavy check is underway, says Nazri. It also went live with the AMOS maintenance software system in December, which gives it better day-to-day control of its operation, drives efficiency and lays the groundwork for it to pursue a Big Data strategy. The airline MRO also invested in a wheels and brakes shop and expanded its cabin interiors work.
Nazri says Malaysia Airlines’ E&M group hopes to regain its EASA Part 145 maintenance certification later this year or early 2020. He considers this a prerequisite for starting third-party MRO services.