THAI and Airbus Sign Cooperation Agreement to Assess Maintenance, Repair, and Operations Business Opportunities at U-Tapao
Today (15 December 2017) H.E. Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister, presided over the THAI-Airbus Signing Ceremony on a Cooperation Agreement to assess Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) Business Opportunities at U-Tapao Airport, which will enable Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) and Airbus to establish the MRO center for the Asia Pacific region. Guests of honor included H.E. Mr. Uttama Savanayama, Minister of Industry, Mr. Pairin Chuchotethavorn, Deputy Minister of Transport, and Mr. Kanit Sangsubhan, Secretary-General, Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Thai Ambassador to France, H.E. Mr. Peter Prügel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, representatives of France, United Kingdom, Spain, and the European Union in Thailand, and THAI Board of Directors. The Cooperation Agreement was signed by Mrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo, THAI Acting President, and Mr. Jean-Francois Laval, Airbus Executive Vice President, Customer Affairs, and was witnessed by THAI Management and Flying Officer Ronnachai Wongchaoum, THAI Vice President, TG MRO Campus Project, at the signing ceremony that took place at the THAI Head Office.
Mrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo, Acting President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), said that the U-Tapao Airport Development Project is one of several important Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development Projects and is a vitally important project for Thailand. This signing ceremony reflects a long-standing and strong partnership between THAI and Airbus in developing the MRO Development Project at U-Tapao in support of the Government’s EEC Development Project. It also reflects the progress and effectiveness of the project following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 8, 2017, whereby feasibility study results proved satisfactory for both companies. The Project Feasibility and Appraisal Report has been submitted to all related state agencies for consideration and will be submitted to the EEC Policy Committee, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, for further consideration and approval.
The cooperation agreement between THAI and Airbus defines the framework of mutual cooperation to assess business opportunities related to the MRO development, which will lead to a possible future joint venture agreement. The elements of this cooperation agreement are as follows:
1. To set the framework for discussion and analysis to further assess and evaluate potential business opportunities. The business opportunities at this initial stage of cooperation are as follows :
– To establish a new MRO facility at U-Tapao International Airport to provide services that include heavy maintenance, line maintenance and aircraft painting services
– To establish an aircraft maintenance training center at U-Tapao through coordination with related government organizations and CAT
– To establish an Aircraft Composite Repair Shop
– To adopt new technologies and innovation for MRO activities in a Smart Hangar
– To establish a Store and Logistics Center to support U-Tapao MRO Project Operation
– To support design and construction of appropriate buildings in the MRO Campus area
– To establish a back shop to support Line Maintenance Operation
2. To set up a joint committee, comprised of representatives from THAI and Airbus to negotiate, study, analyze, assess, and decide on each business opportunity identified in the cooperation agreement.
3. This cooperation agreement is not intended to constitute, and shall not constitute any legally binding obligations between both parties to proceed with or implement any business opportunities or enter into any business agreements, but rather is intended to set a framework of the cooperation and collaboration between both parties. Should the business opportunity assessment of any of the above-mentioned activities be mutually beneficial, then the two parties may enter into a joint venture agreement for each of the activities, beginning with the MRO activity which is estimated will begin in 2019.
Mr. Jean-Francois Laval, Executive Vice President, Customer Affairs Asia, Airbus, said that Airbus is proud to be part of this development in the frame of the Eastern Economic Corridor which will offer great business opportunities for many aviation partner companies and suppliers. This Cooperation Agreement is a key milestone on the way to the establishment of a state of the art MRO campus in U-Tapao. Beyond the partnership between our two great companies, today’s announcement also represents a strategic development for Thailand’s exciting plan to strengthen its presence in the aerospace industry. It will be a cornerstone of the Eastern Economic Corridor vision. During the past months, teams at THAI and Airbus have studied the business case for the MRO hub at U-Tapao and are convinced that the geographic location, coupled with the skills in the country and the market potential in the region will bring great benefits for many years to come. It is predicted that the fleets operated by carriers in Asia and the Pacific will more than double in size over the next 20 years, from around 6,100 to almost 17,000 aircraft. Airbus estimates the value of maintenance and overhaul sector in this region alone will stand at around USD 664 billion over the next decade.
U-Tapao Airport is able to handle aircraft of all sizes and is already home to extensive maintenance facilities operated by THAI. As of next year, THAI will start maintaining the Airbus A380 with the support of Airbus teams in U-Tapao. Early next decade, new hangar facilities will be built, while U-Tapao will become a growing airport with eventually two runways. Besides the MRO hub, where wide-body aircraft of all types will be maintained, a mechanic engineering school will be built in cooperation between the Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC), THAI, and Airbus. In order to build up technology transfer into this region, a composite component repair center will be built and this will prove further beneficial to Thailand’s vertical development in the aerospace sector.
The Management of both companies have a joint vision for the new MRO campus to be the most modern aircraft maintenance facility equipped with the most modern aircraft technology, and can handling aircraft of all types and sizes for 20 years into the future. Furthermore, it will be able to provide on time aircraft maintenance at reasonable prices, high quality, and safety (on time, on cost, on quality). The MRO campus will be capable of providing aircraft maintenance in the apron area to heavy maintenance for various aircraft types using the latest in aircraft maintenance technology, in addition to being equipped with an intelligent Smart Hangar that will be of high quality, decrease investment costs, and will be environmentally friendly. The aircraft maintenance training center will train highly skilled technicians in accordance to international standards, facilitating continual growth in aircraft maintenance in the future. Both Airbus and THAI have high aspirations for U-Tapao to become a World Class MRO.