SEPANG: European aircraft manufacturer Airbus unit Sepang Aircraft Engineering Sdn Bhd (SAE) is targeting to reach a cumulative 700 scheduled maintenance for commercial aircraft by end of 2019.
SAE chief executive officer Raymond Lim said the target would be backed by a stronger growth of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in Asia Pacific region.
Lim said the MRO service provider’s goal would also be driven by higher automation initiatives and highly-skill workforce recruitment this year, supported by its strong affiliation with Airbus expertise in digitalisation to reduce the turnaround time (TAT) to service aircrafts.
Currently, SAE’s TAT for scheduled maintenance averages between eight and 25 days, while paint work’s TAT up to 12 days completion depending on the aircraft complexity.
“We have two-state of the art hangars including one that opened only two years ago to meet strong demand for MRO services from across the region,” he said during the media tour of SAE here today.
SAE, a European Aviation Safety Agency-approved company, has surpassed 600 scheduled maintenance mark since its inception in 2007.
SAE’s MRO services are catered for Airbus single-aisle narrow-body A320 and ATR turboprop aircrafts, specialising in engine and components.
SAE also provides material support services such as warehouse management and operation, field support services and unscheduled on aircraft maintenance activities to the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s fleet of A400M airlifters.
Airbus expects air traffic to double every 15 years globally. Passenger growth in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow 5.5 per cent annually in the next 20 years. This requires additional 16,000 new aircraft from the current 7,000 aircraft.
SAE employs about 600 employees in highly-skilled jobs (99 per cent Malaysians).
“All of this is part of our investment in Malaysia and for the country’s aerospace industry. We aim to reach 720 employees by end of 2019,” he said.
SAE is a fully-owned by Airbus, and located adjacent to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
SAE operates two hangars with a combined area of 49,000 sq metres that can accommodate up to eight single-aisle aircraft for heavy maintenance checks.
Together, the two hangars can perform up to 120 checks annually with utilisation rates of 90 per cent.
SAE’s customers include airlines (AirAsia, Air Calib, Bangkok Airways, IndiGo, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines) and aircraft leasing firms such as Air Leas Corp, Avolon and BOC Aviation.
SAE also houses Malaysia’s first eco-friendly closed door dedicated for paint bay, which can handle complex aircraft livery painting jobs for 12 aircraft annually.
Airbus is the largest partner of the Malaysian aerospace sector with its sourcing and services amounting to US$500 million annually for the local economy.