SE Asia Shows Promise For Aircraft and MRO Demand

Proposed maintenance facilities in Thailand and Malaysia anticipate airline growth in the region.

Boeing’s latest demand forecast for Southeast Asia has provided further justification for several ambitious aftermarket projects in the region.

During the next 20 years, Boeing estimates that Southeast Asia will need 4,210 new aircraft, or just over 10% of its predicted global aircraft demand over the same time period.

"Driven by fierce competition and growing passenger demand, airlines in Southeast Asia need the most capable, flexible, economical and passenger preferred airplanes available," says Dinesh Keskar senior vice-president of Asia Pacific and India sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing expects narrowbodies to account for about three-quarters of the demand, while 930 new widebodies also will be needed.

Last week, Thai Airways received its first 787-9 as well as a third A350-900 on lease from Amedeo.

Earlier this year the carrier signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to develop a major MRO hub at U-Tapao International, Bangkok’s third airport.

U-Tapao is already used by Thai Maintenance, which has a 24,000-sq.-meter hangar to offer heavy maintenance services to both its parent airline and third-party customers.

The MoU envisions a new complex incorporating specialized repair shops for items such as composite structures, a maintenance training center and data analysing technology.

Ambitions are for a facility that could handle 12 aircraft simultaneously, up from two widebodies at the moment, and the entire project is expected to require a $560 million investment.

Further south, in Malaysia, the government is also seeking to develop a maintenance hub.

At this year’s Paris Air Show, Malaysia Airport Holdings (MAHB) signed a preliminary deal with South Korea’s Gyeongnam Techno Park (GNTP) to develop the Subang Aerotech Park near Kuala Lumpur.

Yet, while both prospective facilities have focused on big-ticket items, they would do well to note growing regional aircraft demand in the region.

Boeing’s figures don’t cover aircraft under 100 seats, but ATR estimates demand from 750 new turboprops in Asia over the next 20 years, with Southeast Asia’s island geography particularly suited to regional operations.


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