new-facility-afi-klm-em-emphasises-asia-s-growing-mro-support-needs.jpg Patrick Delapierre, AFI KLM E&M

New Facility For AFI KLM E&M Emphasises Asia’s Growing MRO-Support Needs

The opening on 1 December by Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) of its new Kuala Lumpur Materials and Logistics Service Center near Malaysia’s capital emphasizes the increasing focus of the commercial-aviation MRO industry on Asia as air traffic continues to develop rapidly throughout that continent.

Formation of many new airlines – particularly low-cost carriers – throughout Asia and their rapid growth thereafter, while not without growing pains, has brought floods of orders for both mainline and regional commercial aircraft to all the major Western-hemisphere airliner manufacturers.

Airbus and Boeing have been the two biggest beneficiaries as orders have poured in from Asian carriers for aircraft from the A320, A330, A350 XWB, 737, 777 and 787 families, both for current-generation and next-generation models.

In some cases, AirAsia and AirAsia X being particularly prominent examples along with some of India’s fast-growing carriers and the many new Chinese airlines which continue to form and then grow extremely quickly, adding international networks to their initial domestic routes as soon as the Chinese Government allows them to do so, the aircraft orders these carriers place are huge.

Throughout Asia, also, ATR, Bombardier and Embraer – to list them strictly in chronological order – continue to find many opportunities to place new aircraft as emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam see demand for air traffic soar.

Much of this demand is for leisure and business traffic, but in some Asian nations – Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar to name but three – their difficult terrain or the vast numbers of populated but remotely located islands within their borders makes air travel an essential-service necessity as these nations pursue economic growth and their citizens pursue financial betterment.

All this provides a background for rapid growth of an MRO industry which, in a few years’ time, will need to be robust and large enough to overhaul the thousands of new commercial aircraft already delivered, or soon to be delivered, to Asia’s burgeoning complement of airlines.

Seeing this development taking place, AFI KLM E&M, which already has various client airlines throughout Asia for its MRO and MRO-support services, has opened its new facility in Kuala Lumpur in order to provide better service to those clients.

AFI KLM E&M regards its new Kuala Lumpur service center as first and foremost a spares-logistics facility. As such, it will serve as a local spares pool to fast-track the supply of replacement parts to AFI KLM E&M’s client airlines in Asia and thus serve them better.

The new facility supplements the Kuala Lumpur parts warehouse that AFI KLM E&M opened in 2011 to support a Boeing 737NG component service agreement it had signed with Malaysia Airlines. By 2013 this first parts center was gradually also serving the needs of additional AFI KLM E&M customers in the region.

According to AFI KLM E&M, its new Kuala Lumpur logistics service center will work closely and in coordinated fashion with the group’s logistics center in Singapore and its component-MRO facilities in Shanghai and Mumbai.

AFI KLM E&M is aiming for its new Kuala Lumpur Materials and Logistics Service Center to beef up the group’s logistics capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, the new facility becoming one of AFI KLM E&M’s decentralized Asia-Pacific logistic centers.

The new Kuala Lumpur facility will service AFI KLM E&M customers operating any of the aircraft types for which the group provides component services, including the Boeing 737 and 787 and the A320, A330, A350 XWB families – and also the A380.

AFI KLM E&M’s intention is for the new facility also to act as a client interface, with its staff able to deliver rapid solutions to the needs of client airlines. By means of its strategic positioning at the heart of the Asia-Pacific region, the new Kuala Lumpur facility will be able to provide real 24/7 worldwide coverage, according to AFI KLM E&M.

The group is hoping the new facility will help AFI KLM E&M deliver ever-more effective component support for its Asia-Pacific clients, in the process optimizing their parts storage, logistic and repair costs.

“The launch of this new logistic service center is a major milestone in our strategy to develop a high-performance global MRO network,” remarks Ton Dortmans, executive vice president of KLM E&M, who attended the 1 December opening ceremony for the new Kuala Lumpur facility.

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