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Airbus set to expand helicopter MRO facility in Subang; pledges continued support in Malaysia

LANGKAWI: Airbus Helicopters is expanding its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Subang, Selangor, with the addition of a completion and delivery centre for the Southeast Asian region.

Airbus Helicopters head of sales Southeast Asia and Pacific Fabrice Rochereau said the company’s expansion would also include an additional simulator, paint and interior installation facility for Airbus helicopters in the region.

“With a total of more than 100 local staff, we are committed to developing our helicopter MRO facility, backed by the company’s continued investment to support local expertise and capabilities,” he said at a media briefing during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition 2019 (Lima 2019).

Rochereau said work on the expansion started in the second half of last year and was expected to be completed by the middle of the year.

“The expansion will enable Airbus Helicopters to increase jobs for locals, while expanding our MRO services for our customers in the region and Malaysia,” he added.

Rochereau said the facility would be capable of servicing up to a dozen helicopters at any one time, depending on the sizes and complexity of the MRO jobs.

With more than 15 years presence in Malaysia, Airbus Helicopters currently commands about 48 per cent of the civil and parapublic helicopter market in Malaysia.

“Malaysia is also a regional training hub for the H225 and AS365 Dauphin helicopters. To date, about 1,200 pilots have gone through training at the H225 simulator,” he said.

Meanwhile, Airbus Defence and Space Southeast Asia head Johan Pelissier said the company would continue supporting Malaysia with land and coastal solutions for defence, security and maritime surveillance to safeguard the country’s security.

Leveraging on its strategic ties with Malaysia, he said, Airbus would ensure the company’s holistic related services in aeronautics and aerospace were well integrated into the country’s defence and security capability.

“We believe the integration of all these building blocks all together provide added value to key stakeholders in terms of defence, security and maritime requirements,” he said.

Pelissier said Malaysia was a long-term sustainable partner for Airbus with highly skilled labour and aviation-minded people.

“Malaysia has good engineers suitable for our technology ecosystem. We share technology with Malaysian small and medium enterprises.

“We are really making Malaysia our technology hub in the region,” he added.

Pelissier said Airbus had built a long-standing partnership with Malaysia in various building blocks in its portfolio.

“For Lima 2019, we are the major international exhibitor. We engage with customers to ensure that these building blocks can be well integrated.

“We are already present in aerospace for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (helicopters and aircraft), the Royal Malaysian Navy and Eastern Sabah Security Command (coastal surveillance system services), communications and space imagery services,” he said.

To date, Airbus has been providing services such as a telecommunication satellite for MEASAT-3B and delivered more than 100 helicopters such as the AS355, H225M, H120, H130, AS350 and Dauphin for the police, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and private operators.

On the military side, Malaysia operates four A400M Atlas airlifter and 12 H225M; five AS355 Fennec; and, three Dauphin helicopters.

Meanwhile, Pelissier said Airbus had received a request from the government in January for information on the C295 maritime patrol aircraft.

He said senior officials indicated that maritime patrol aircraft had become a priority due to Malaysia’s strategic environment as a maritime nation, requiring the country to beef up its surveillance and security capability.

“The C295 offers the lowest risks, given that it is not a concept aircraft that is unproven in service. It also has the best acquisition and six times more fuel efficiency than jet aircraft,” he said.

For broader coastal surveillance requirements, he said Airbus could also tailor a comprehensive solution that combined products and services across the company’s portfolio.

“Such a comprehensive solution would meet the needs of multiple national agencies, including manned and unmanned aircraft, helicopters, satellite imagery, intelligence systems and data analytics,” he said.