KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian MRO provider Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) is considering expanding its capabilities as one of Southeast Asia’s key support facilities for the region’s many LCCs operating Airbus aircraft.
Currently, SAE only performs heavy maintenance on narrowbody aircraft at its hangars at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Its largest customer is LCC giant AirAsia, but other major customers include Scoot, IndiGo and Jetstar Asia. SAE is now 100% owned by Airbus, and it is in the process of establishing itself as an Airbus center of excellence for A320 work in Asia.
SAE has two hangars at KLIA. One hangar has four narrowbody lines, or could potentially have capacity for two widebodies, said VP-Commercial To Chow Leah on the sidelines of Aviation Week’s MRO Southeast Asia conference. The second hangar has two narrowbody lines, and SAE also has a dedicated paint hangar. The MRO is studying whether a third hangar could be needed in the long term, although To stressed there is no plan in place yet.
The company could potentially expand into widebody heavy maintenance, said To. SAE is already certified to work on A330s, which is the fleet type operated by AirAsia X. While it does not do C-checks or scheduled maintenance on widebodies, SAE does support its customers with some widebody repair work such as composite repair, and is conducting modification work on Airbus A380 doors.
SAE’s narrowbody work scope includes airframe heavy maintenance up to 12-year C-checks, pilot seat repair, passenger seat refurbishment, aircraft lease return work, non-destructive testing, composite repair and structural repair. It is an Airbus-approved radome repair facility for all Airbus types in the region. The company is considering going into component repair using its existing hangar facilities, To said.
KLIA is a beneficial location for an MRO base, said To. In addition to its geographical location, it has a broad range of international flights, and good cargo handling infrastructure.
SAE’s work intake has been healthy in 2019, and it is anticipated to remain strong for the next few years, To said. However, it still has capacity for new customers.
AirAsia has said it is considering launching its own MRO operation, either in Thailand or in Malaysia, a move that may affect SAE. To noted this development has been newly announced, and the company will review its implications.