Earlier this month, Thai government’s plan to make Thailand a fully fledged aviation hub in Asia-Pacific, made a significant leap forward in the right direction. An MOA-agreement stipulating the need to study the development of a major new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility was made between THAI and Airbus. The agreement worth some 20 billion THB, suggests that U-Tapao International Airport will be the location of this new MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility.
The fact that Airbus jointly decides to choose Thailand for this investment, means a lot for the country as it also reflects how much confidence the European aircraft manufacturer has in Thailand’s capacity.†
According to the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Somkid Jatusripitak, many individuals have in the past only been allowed to dream about making Thailand a regional aviation hub in Asia and the Pacific. Now, Airbus has chosen Thailand as an aircraft manintenance and repair base, in partnership with Thai Airways International (THAI). The THAI-Airbus project is the direct result of a lot of planning, and hard work, over a very long time.†
At the signing of the agreement, Airbus stated that 40% of the aircrafts they have produced, are now based in Asia, and over time, many of these will at some point require both maintenance and repairs. Some 3000 Airbus aircrafts are now in service with airlines in the region, and another 2000 are so far on order in the future.†
The new MRO-base at U-Tapao will eventually cover some 2.000 rai of land (about 3.2 million square meters), and the investment cost is estimated at 20 billion THB. Within the MRO-base, a training facility for aircraft maintenance technicians will also be included, as well as the latest digital technology. The base will be designed to accept up to 12 aircafts at any given time, large and small. Within time, there is also plans and hopes to also expand the area with aircraft parts manufacturing plants.