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Aviation News MRO: Airbus, AirAsia and Sepang Aircraft Engineering set their sights high

MRO: Airbus, AirAsia and Sepang Aircraft Engineering set their sights high

Romain Guillot
18 SEP 2019 | 519 words
MRO: Airbus, AirAsia and Sepang Aircraft Engineering set their sights high
Sepang Aircraft Engineering
Sepang Aircraft Engineering's (SAE) new development project was announced as a major aircraft order from AirAsia was finalised at the end of August (twelve A330-900s and thirty A321XLRs) in Kuala Lumpur, in the presence of the AirAsia group's chairman Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Airbus Guillaume Faury and the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), which is now a 100% subsidiary of Airbus, had already inaugurated a new 12 000 m2 maintenance hangar just two years ago to meet the growing requirements of the region's airlines, particularly for AirAsia Group.

Most of the aircraft which are being serviced at Sepang Aircraft Engineering are Airbus A320s of course, and to a lesser extent ATRs. The company's regular customers are naturally AirAsia, but also MASwings (ATR), Scoot (A320), Indigo (A320), Jetstar Asia (A320), VietJet (A320) and Bangkok Airways. Airbus's MRO facilities at Kuala Lumpur have already even hosted an A320 from french airline Aircalin for a C-Check. The scheduled maintenance activity currently accounts for over two thirds of SEA's revenue, and it is clear that the company's volume of activity is only going to grow, given the significant fleet development in South East Asia.

Sepang Aircraft Engineering's expansion project, which is being made official for now as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provides for the construction of a third base maintenance hangar which will be able to accommodate four single-aisle or two wide-body aircraft for heavy checks. Total capacity will then be increased to 16 narrowbodies in parallel, positioning the company as a major rival to its neighbour MAB Engineering, the MRO arm of Malaysia Airlines.

It must be said that the requirements of AirAsia, which is Sepang Aircraft Engineering's main customer in terms of volume, will be colossal over the years to come, with over 450 Airbus aircraft ordered, compared to nearly 260 currently in the fleet. This increase is so great that AirAsia is even considering creating its own MRO centre at U-Tapao (Thailand) to cover the needs of its local subsidiary, responding to the initiative which was launched by the Thai government two years ago to create a major maintenance hub in the region.

Sepang Aircraft Engineering's future facilities will also have a new paint shop and a new component repair shops. According to the aircraft manufacturer, the new facilities will be fully compatible with the latest technology (Smart Hangar) including data analysis and planning using the Airbus Skywise digital platform. They may also have automated tools for airframe inspections.

Remember that AirAsia loves to use new technologies to improve its operations, especially predictive maintenance tools. For example, the multi-national airline group has already chosen the Airbus Skywise platform to analyse the data of all its subsidiaries and for all types of aircraft in its fleet (A320, A320neo, A330-300 and now A330-900 since a few weeks ago). This is also true of AFI KLM E&M's Prognos solutions which are also used by AirAsia's technical department, as we were able to see at the latest Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in June.
Romain Guillot
Chief editor
Cofounder of Journal de l'Aviation and Alertavia


 
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