Singapore Airlines Engineering (SIA Engineering) is a company with a penchant for forming joint ventures, with 25 in total located across eight different countries in Asia-Pacific and North America. Last week it continued this trajectory by incorporating its line maintenance partnership with Thai carrier NokScoot for a repair station at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport.
Building on a partnership first announced in March of this year, which will see a 51%-49% split between NokScoot and SIA Engineering respectively, the JV will operate as Line Maintenance Partnership from Thailand’s second busiest airport.
Initially, it will service NokScoot’s fleet, which as of July, is comprised of five in-service Boeing 777-200ER aircraft and services mid- to long-haul routes to Asia-Pacific, China and India.
Over time, these line maintenance locations could grow at other airports in Thailand depending on any increases to the NokScoot fleet, which currently stands at an additional two 777s scheduled to join the fleet.
Not only does this partnership further grow the ties between Singapore and Thailand--with NokScoot itself a JV of Thai carrier Nok Air and Singapore’s Scoot, but it also adds to the maintenance infrastructure of Thailand, a country with ambitious plans to become one of the Asia-Pacific region’s MRO hubs.
Much of this activity centers on its eastern seaboard region, with Don Meaung one of three airports, along with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao Airport located near Pattaya, which are set to serve as the focal point of the country’s plans to grow capacity and better logistics links.
U-Tapao, owned by the Royal Thai Navy, is set to be transformed into an MRO hub, with a joint-venture maintenance facility between Thai Airways and Airbus set for 2022, along with plans for a specialized MRO campus in which Thailand hopes to attract repair specialists.
While Singapore will almost certainly remain as the aftermarket hub of the Asia-Pacific region, space is limited within the realms of the city-state. Thailand, sure to face competition from other regional nations benefiting from low-cost labor markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, will most likely try to capitalize on this.
Aviation Week Network’s MRO Asia-Pacific event will take place in Singapore from September 24-26.