SUBANG: The opening of the Airbus helicopter completion and delivery centre at its facility here will further consolidate Malaysia’s position as the regional hub for all the industrial activities and capabilities of the multinational.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said he was told that new Airbus helicopters from the Southeast Asia region would be delivered from this regional hub, which is also meant for helicopter services, customer support and full-flight simulator training located at the Malaysia International Aerospace Centre here.

According to the Head of Airbus in Malaysia, Raymond Lim, the centre is capable of assembling and delivering up to 20 helicopters per year from across all its rotorcraft models.

Airbus Helicopters projects that the global demand for helicopters will reach 22,000 in the next 20 years with Asia Pacific expected to account for about 35% of this figure. Asia Pacific now has over 9,000 helicopters.

“Given the vibrancy of the sector, the Malaysian government has identified aerospace as a strategic industry with wide potential to help the country’s industrialisation and technological development,” said Loke when launching Airbus Helicopters’ Regional Hub For Helicopter Completion, Delivery, Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and Full Flight Simulator (FFS) Training here today.

As helicopters are gaining steady acceptance in Asia, the minister said there would be a demand for training.

With this regional hub and the expansion of its simulator training centre, Malaysia would be a strong base for Airbus Helicopters particularly with the addition of a AS365 Dauphin full-flight simulator to existing H225/H225 M simulator, offering customised training for operators in the region and customers globally.

“The FFS (Full Flight Simulator) will enhance Malaysia’s aerospace industry as it will be able to offer training to pilots from customers in the military, para-public and civil sectors throughout the Asia Pacific region and globally,” Loke said.

He said Malaysia is looking forward to Airbus’ continued commitment to this country as they work together to grow this sector.

Lim said the move to set up a regional helicopter completion and delivery centre in Malaysia fully demonstrated Airbus’ unwavering commitment to the country’s aerospace industry, in particular the promotion of Malaysia’s growing industrial footprint across all areas of the company’s business.

“This expansion is part of our growth plan for the region, and will enable us to provide the best possible end-to-end support to our customers in this fast-growing region, backed by our extensive range of helicopter services,” he said.

With two simulators in place, he said, training of pilots and crew from customers in the military, para public and civil sectors through the Asia-Pacific region and beyond could now take place in Malaysia.

Airbus is the largest international partner for the Malaysian aerospace industry, with its sourcing and services businesses in the country worth US$400 million (about RM1.6 billion) annually for the local economy and providing jobs for over 4,000 Malaysians.

Malaysian companies supply parts for a wide range of Airbus programmes including the A320 Family, A330neo, A350 XWB, A380 and A400M. — Bernama