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Selangor Unveils Action Plan To Develop Aerospace Industry In the State

March 2019

The Selangor state through its investment promotion agency, Invest Selangor Berhad (Invest Selangor) has outlined about 30 action plans under a Selangor Aerospace Action Plan, to be carried out by both federal and state governments in order to position the state as a major hub for the aerospace industry in South East Asia, focusing on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO).

Selangor has been the main hub for Malaysia’s aerospace and aviation industry as more than 62% of the Malaysian aerospace players are based within the state. The industry is strongly supported by a great demand from players in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for around 30% of the global aerospace and aviation activities and products.

Selangor has three main aerospace hubs located in Sepang, Subang and Serendah, housing more than 200 companies and two airports. The state plans to focus on these three existing hubs, as surrounding areas are still under-utilized. The state plans to provide a more conducive ecosystem for investors and evelop a fully integrated logistics system for the aviation and aerospace industry, leveraging IoT (Internet of Things). There are also plans to enhance the use of robotics in the sector. 

In line with the action plans, Selangor Berhad and UMW Development Sdn Bhd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 5 March to attract local and international investors to the UMW High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Park in Serendah. The MoU is supposed to facilitate marketing and promotion efforts for the industrial park, and attract high value manufacturing industries, primarily in aerospace but also including other industries that require advanced manufacturing processes. UMW Aerospace has a fan case manufacturing facility for Rolls-Royce in the park, serving as a catalyst to draw in ecosystem stakeholders.

The state government is optimist that a combination of organic and inorganic growth could boost revenue from the aerospace industry in Selangor, in line with the Second Malaysia Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, to generate more than MYR 100 bil (USD 24.4 bill) by 2030.

(Sources: The Malaysian Reserve, The Star, The Malay Mail, The Sun Daily)

Malaysia Exploring Multirole Fighter Jet Options

February 2019

Malaysia is considering to add up to 30 lightweight multirole fighter jets to complement its fleet of F/A – 18D and Su-30MKM aircrafts. It was reported that the country’s Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has asked India to send a Tejas fighter to Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA 2019) scheduled on March 26 – 30 in Langkawi, Malaysia for evaluation. Tejas, a multirole light combat aircraft (LCA), was designed and developed together by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Development Centre (ADC) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. Currently priced at USD 29 million per aircraft, sources said that Malaysia is planning to purchase up to 30 units of Tejas for its air force.

The development with Tejas came after extensive trials of JF-17 Thunder, developed in China and built in Pakistan by the defense ministry in 2018. The model is cheaper than Tejas with a USD 25 million price tag. According to news sources Malaysia has also issued a Request for Information under the Malaysian Light Combat Aircraft program to Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) for its FA-50 Golden Eagle Block 10 on last January 5. Within South East Asia Golden Eagles are flown by Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, with only the Philippines opted for fighter/attack variant. Malaysia was reportedly seeking for 12 aircrafts with the option of adding 24 more. Aside from Tejas, JF-17 Thunder and FA-50 Golden Eagles, other compatible competitors for the potential contract include United Aircraft Corporation’s Mig-35 and Saab’s JAS-39C/D Gripen.

(Sources: International Business Times; AIN Online; Pakistan Defence)

Malaysian Authorities Seeking Proposals To Rejuvenate Subang Airport

January 2019

The Star Newspaper reported recently that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has initiated a request for proposals (RFP) from local and global consultancies in a bid to rejuvenate the Subang Airport. The consultancy firms that are selected will be appointed as the master planner for the concept and design of the project covering a 1,063 -acre site. As of mid-December 2018,  about 15 local and multinational consultancies firm had obtained RFP documents and proposals were expected to be submitted by the end of December.

Subang International Airport served as Kuala Lumpur's main airport from 1965 to 1998, before the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was opened. The airport currently mostly serves smaller turboprop planes on domestic flights. 

The regeneration of Subang Airport is estimated to cost in the range of USD 360 to 600 million and the completion of the project could take up to 10 years, depending on the approved concept and design. There will be three parts of the project, including remodelling a part of Subang Airport as a business aviation hub, establishing a city airport by expanding and enhancing existing terminal and air site facilities, as well as setting up a complete aerospace ecosystem to bolster the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector and aircraft manufacturing.

Around 60-acres (0.24 sq km) from the 1,063-acre (4.3 sq km) land, will be convert into green field site close to Subang Skypark, which MAHB is transforming into an aerospace park valued at around USD 98 million.

The Subang Airport’s new terminal will increase capacity from the current three million passengers to five million, once it is competed. It is also expected to generate 5,000 employment opportunities and attract more than USD 250 million in investments by 2025.

(Source: The Star Online; Property Guru)

Construction Kicks Off For Malaysia’s First Two Littoral Mission Ships

November 2018

The construction of the first two Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) ordered by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has started in China. This project is undertaken by way of the signing of a procurement contract between Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) and the Malaysian government on March 23, 2017 to jointly build the warships . China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co Ltd (CSOC) is a partner shipyard of BNS in the LMS project.

This Malaysia-China collaboration will see a total of four LMS to be built for RMN, with two being built in China and the other two in Malaysia.  This entails sharing and transfer of technology between both countries. A two-in-one ceremony, namely the Keel Laying of LMS 1 and the First Steel Cutting of LMS 2, took place in Wuhan, China on 23 October 2018 at the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industrial Group Shipyard in Shuangliu, China.

Meanwhile, the Keel Laying ceremony of the fourth of six Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) of RMN took place at BNS in Lumut, Perak. LCS was designed by French DCNS (now Naval Group) as a modified, enlarged version of its Gowind corvette vessels. The six ships, with a displacement of 3,000 tons and equipped with Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile, MBDA’s VL MICA missiles, a Bofors 57mm Mk3 gun in a stealth casing and an automated MSI Seahawk 30mm gun. For anti-submarine warfare, the ships will be fitted with J+S torpedo launcher systems, manufactured by UK-based company SEA.

LMS and LCS will be crucial assets of RMN’s 15-to-5 Fleet Transformation Programme which is aimed at transforming its armada and reduce it from 15 classes of vessels to five classes.

(Sources: The Star; The New Straits Times; Jane’s 360; Naval Today; Naval Recognition; Malaysian Defence)

30 New Aerospace Manufacturing SMEs To Be Developed By 2020

October 2018

The aerospace sector remains a strategic industry for Malaysia, with the government planning to develop 30 new small and medium manufacturing companies focusing on the sector by 2020, in addition to the current 20 companies.

Within the aerospace industry, the aerospace manufacturing segment has been growing tremendously since 1990s, and recently surpassed the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment as the top revenue contributor in the industry. According to Malaysia's National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office (NAICO), the aerospace manufacturing segment contributed to 48% or MYR 6.6 billion (USD 1.6 billion) of the industry’s revenue in 2017, followed by 46% from MRO and the remaining 6% from engineering and design services segment. It is hopeful that aerospace manufacturing revenue will increase between 7% and 15% annually, depending on whether the industry will be able to attract more investors into the local scene.

Malaysia’s 2017 aerospace export surged 54% to MYR 8.51 billion (USD 2.05 billion) from 2016, with parts and components making the lion share of the main exports, particularly wings, empennage and aircraft fuselage. Companies in Malaysia contributed to the aerospace value chain covering engineering and design services, system integration, and the manufacture of aircraft parts and components including ground support equipment and MRO activities. The Malaysia Aerospace Blueprint 2030, launched in 2015, has been targeting an annual revenue of USD 14.3 billion by 2030 and the creation of over 32,000 high-income jobs for the industry.

During the bi-annual Kuala Lumpur International Aerospace Business Convention (KLIABC) event, Malaysia Aerospace Industry Association (MAIA) entered into a MoU with Indonesia Aircraft Component Manufacturer Association (INACOM) to collaborate to improve human capital development in both countries to win more jobs from big industry players such as Airbus, Boeing and Rolls Royce in the region. Another local player Sapura Industrial Berhad also entered into an MoU with two Japanese aerospace companies, Wada Aircraft Technology Co Ltd and Aero Inc, to form a joint venture in aerospace component manufacturing in Malaysia. Wada manufactures aerospace components, jigs, fixtures and tooling, whereas Aero assembles and manufactures aerospace parts. Recognized as one of the leading aerospace industry events in South East Asia, KLIABC was organized by MATRADE in collaboration with MAIA and ABE France, involving 150 aerospace industry organizations from 21 countries. First introduced in 2014, a total of 63 Malaysian aerospace companies were participating in the 3-day event.

(Sources: The Star; The New Straits Times; The Edge Markets; Daily Express; MIDA; MATRADE)

Malaysian Air Force Looking To Boost Maritime Surveillance Assets

September 2018

The Malaysian government is considering a mix of both manned, and unmanned aerial platforms to fulfil the country’s maritime patrol requirements. Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu confirmed that the latest administration, that took over the government in May 2018, will look into the plans made under the previous government. These include a programme to equip the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) with new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

The government is currently making cost comparisons between manned, and unmanned aircraft, to decide on a combination of both types to fulfil the country’s maritime surveillance requirements. During the Defence Ministers visit to Farnborough, he was offered with a variety of new technologies, but the ministry has decided to compare these with the expertise that is available in Malaysia to see which will give better value according to the 9 August transcript of parliamentary proceedings retrieved from the Malaysian Hansard.

The Defence Ministry requires surveillance aircraft and UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles). A combination of both systems is important, especially with regards to the surveillance of the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, and emphasising that the latter is a particularly important channel of commerce for the country.

In December 2017, the RMAF’s Head of Staff for Air Region 1 Headquarters, Brigadier General Yazid bin Arshad, disclosed that the service has shortlisted a list of four aircraft types for its MPA requirements. These include the Airbus CN205, and the ATR 72MP from Leonardo.

(Source: The Star Online; Jane’s 360)

AirAsia X Places Order For 34 Aircraft From Airbus

August 2018

AirAsia X has placed an order with Airbus for an additional 34 A330neo widebody aircraft.  AirAsia X is a long-haul budget airline based in Malaysia, and a sister company of AirAsia, the leading low-cost carrier in Asia. This order was announced at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK by Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Co-Founder and AirAsia X Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman of AirAsia X and Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. 

This reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the largest airline customer for the A330neo, with the total number of aircraft ordered by the airline increasing to 100. All the A330neo aircraft ordered by AirAsia X are the larger A330-900 model.

This would enable AirAsia X to enable non-stop services to Europe, including from Kuala Lumpur to London, and allow the carrier to expand its value-based long haul model with even lower operating costs, while enabling its passengers to fly further more often with highly competitive fares. AirAsia X will be the first airline in Asia to operate the A330neo, with deliveries of aircraft on order with Airbus scheduled to start in Q4 2019. The A330neo will be operated by AirAsia X out of its bases in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The A330neo is the latest version of the twin aisle A330 Family from Airbus. It incorporates new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new optimised wing and increased use of lighter composite materials, bringing a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25% compared with older generation aircraft of similar size. The A330neo aircraft features the Airspace by Airbus cabin. Originally designed for the larger A350 XWB, this features newly designed sidewalls and fixtures, larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

(Source: Airbus; Free Malaysia Today; The Straits Times Singapore)

Hughes Jupiter System Selected For Malaysian Govt And Defense Agencies

July 2018

Mutiara Smart Sdn Bhd (Mutiara Smart) has selected Hughes to deploy its Jupiter System and bring enterprise-grade, managed network services to Malaysian government and defense agencies.

A government-owned company operating under the Ministry of Finance, Mutiara Smart is a provider of network telecommunication and IT services for customers in Telecommunications, Defense & IT Security, IT Outsourcing and Oil and Gas related services. It is one of the leading providers of computers to the government agencies in Malaysia.

The Hughes solution selected by Mutiara Smart includes the HG220 JUPITER Gateway, remote terminals, and a network management system to deliver both C- and Ku-band capacity from two satellites cost-effectively across all of Malaysia. The system features enhanced networking technology for increased efficiencies as well as a 5IF interface capable of supporting multiple bands and transponders across up to five satellites, ensuring future scalability.

The initial order includes a hub and 200 remote terminals, expected to expand significantly over two years.

The chief business officer of Mutiara Smart, Richard Alwani, said, “We were impressed by the ability of the Hughes JUPITER System to provide the high quality of service that our customers demand. We chose Hughes as our trusted partner because their advanced satellite technology has proven to be reliable and will serve the needs of our government customers as we work to become the leading ICT provider in Malaysia. Through this relationship, we’re excited to bring innovation and digital transformation to our customers.”

(Source: Hughes; Space Tech Asia; Telecom Asia.Net)

Malaysia Airports To Spend MYR 30 Million For Digital Enhancement

June 2018

A total of MYR 30 million (USD 7.5 million) has been allocated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to implement Airports 4.0 initiatives, with the aim of prioritizing digital interaction with passengers. The allocation involves integration of Big Data Analytics (BDA) as one of its initiatives under Tthe otal Airport Experience (TAE) pillar to raise its level of service for its customers.

The company is currently carrying out digital transformation encompassing the use of BDA and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to improve airport operations by anticipating foot traffic flows, reducing queue time and congestion and managing facilities for passenger comfort.  One of its digital enhancement initiatives is the launch of MYairports mobile app which is designed to provide seamless home-to-gate journey to passengers by providing them information on flights departure, shopping and dining promotions and important airport information. The app features information about KLIA main terminal as of now, with the information on the second terminal klia2 to be made available soon. There will also be a Mandarin version of the app which is currently available in Bahasa Malaysia and English. MAHB expects 10,000 active downloads of the mobile app by the end of the year.

The country’s main airport operator manages a total of 39 airports in Malaysia. MAHB is planning for more systems to be in place by end of 2019, including an automated queue management system, a passenger flow management system and an upgraded customer feedback management system.

(Sources: New Straits Times; Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad)

Malaysia And Philippines Aerospace Industry Associations To Collaborate

May 2018

Malaysia Aerospace Industry Association (MAIA), the foremost commercial aerospace industry association in Malaysia, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Aerospace Industries Association of The Philippines (AiAP) for the development of the aerospace industry. According to Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency, both associations will be focusing on developing aerospace capabilities and business opportunities between Malaysia and the Philippines. Key areas in the MoU include human capital development, research and technology as well as exchange of information on business environment and international trade issues.

In line with the National Aerospace Blueprint, MAIA intends to position Malaysia as a capable and competitive manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and services base which can supplement and be integrated with the Philippines’ and regional aerospace sectors.

(Sources: MATRADE Website, The Malaysian Reserve, Bernama)

Aerospace Industry’s Revenue To Reach RM 55 Billion By 2030

April 2018

The Ministry of International Trade (MIT) announced in March 2018 that the aerospace sector recorded MYR 13.5 billion (USD 3.47 billion) revenue in 2017. The industry has also created more than 23,000 jobs with the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In 2018, the aerospace industry is projected to grow at around 5%, with the manufacturing sector contributing at least 54% to the total revenue. The MRO sector is projected to continue expanding, especially in the aero engine and components segment with MYR 6.5 billion (USD 1.67 billion) targeted revenue. According to the Ministry of International Trade, the aerospace industry’s revenue is projected to reach MYR 55 billion (USD 14.13 billion) and create 32,000 jobs by 2030, in line with the Malaysia Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030.

The country has a particular focus on expanding the Subang Aerotech Park, which is expected to enhance the supply-chain ecosystem of the aerospace hub. Currently, the Subang Aerotech Park houses approximately 70 aerospace companies and it is expected to attract over MYR 1 billion (USD 256.96 million) in investment, supporting over 5,000 jobs within the next five years. The Aerotech Park has recently welcomed the addition of UK-based Senior Aerospace UPECA, which manufactures and assembles build-to-print structural components for the civil aerospace industry in Malaysia and is a key supplier to major aerospace companies worldwide. UPECA is the first global aerospace company to enter the Subang Aerotech Park.

(Sources: The Malaysian Reserve; The New Straits Times)

Royal Malaysian Navy Looking At Two More Submarines By 2040

April 2018

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) announced their plans to procure two additional submarines by 2040. According to RMN, the procurement of the first submarine is planned under the 14th Malaysia Plan (2031 – 2035) and the second one under the 15th Malaysia Plan (2036 – 2040) as part of its “15 to 5” Transformational Plan. According to RMN, having the submarines in the RMN’s fleet would increase its capabilities in line with the country’s marine defence strategic requirements. The government’s investment in procuring the additional submarines is generally seen as beneficial in upholding maritime security as well as contributing to the nation’s economy, particularly with regards to the maritime claims in the South China Sea.

The new transformation and modernisation plan called “15 to 5” is being rolled out by the RMN due to fiscal challenges and the geopolitics situation in the South East Asian region. The RMN currently has 15 classes of ships coming from 7 nations with an average age of 30 years. This represents a large cost in terms of maintenance and operations. As a solution, the “15 to 5” plan calls for:

1. Phasing out of the older vessels in the fleet, leading to optimised resources;

2. Improving procurement processes (reduced and optimised procurement requirements, reduced ill practices), which  would lead to additional savings for the RMN;

3. Usage of these savings to fund the “15 to 5” plan while focusing on local shipyards and defence industry.

The five classes that would form the future  Royal Malaysian Navy would be:

1. New Generation Patrol Vessel (Kedah-class);

2. Littoral Combat Ship (Gowind-class);

3. Littoral Mission Ship (able to do 80% of the LCS class missions at 20% of the cost);

4. Multirole Supply Ship;

5. Submarines (Scorpene-class).

The fleet is expected to remain at 55 vessels meaning some additional procurement even among existing classes (such as the Scorpene-class submarines, two of which are already deployed by Malaysia). The RMN fleet modernisation’s long-term plan also includes procurement of other surface vessels to strengthen its capabilities in modern warfare.

In addition to the procurement plans, the Government is also assisting the RMN in developing the defence industry through the construction of submarine refit facility as well as developing submarine maintenance capabilities. The refit facility was built in partnership between local company Boustead Naval Shipyard and DCNS, the French Scorpene submarine builder. The partnership has resulted in technology and expertise transfers to Malaysian companies and vendors who conduct the repair, scheduled maintenance and submarine refit fully in Kota Konabalu.

 (Source: Navy Regonition)

New Air Traffic Management Solution On Track For KLIA

March 2018

Italian aerospace and defense group, Leonardo, has successfully completed the Factory Acceptance Test activities for the air traffic management solution and the new generation SIR-S radar systems and relevant antennas for Mersing, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, to the satisfaction of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation. The tests were carried out as part of the upgrade of the new Kuala Lumpur air traffic control centre at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The deal is part of a wider programme awarded by the Malaysian Department of Civil aviation to local company Advanced Air Traffic Systems (AAT). Thanks to its advanced technologies and dependable solutions, in 2016 Leonardo was selected as the leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to partner with AAT for the overall provision for the implementation, design and supply for the new KLIA air traffic control system of the Kuala Lumpur Flight Information Region.

The project includes the design, development and construction of a new air traffic management centre to replace the current system placed at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport. Primary and secondary radar, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast technology (ADS-B), a Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS), a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) monitoring, VHF radios, AFTN/AMHS gateways and navigation aids are components of the supply.

(Source: Leonardo)

AirAsia To Buy Boeing 787s To Expand Its Fleet

February 2018

Budget airline group AirAsia announced in February 2018 its plans to acquire Boeing 787s to expand the fleet of its long-haul arm AirAsia X.

According to the Chief Executive Tony Fernandes, AirAsia X is seeking more planes. In particular, it is looking at Airbus 330s, Airbus 350s and Boeing 787s. The AirAsia group, which has already ordered A330s and A350s, has been exclusively linked to Airbus planes but industry experts say Boeing 787s could fit into its long-haul operations. The group is also keen on buying more of Airbus A321neo long-range jets after purchasing 100 of them.

AirAsia, which flies close to 200 airplanes and is the largest operator of Airbus’s best-selling A320 jet, has airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan and plans to expand into China and Vietnam.

The company plans to add around 30 jets to its airline affiliates across Asia this year amid strong demand growth.

(Source: The Edge Markets; Reuters)

T7 Global To Invest RM 200 Million In Aerospace Facility Plant In Malaysia

February 2018

In February 2018, T7 Global announced its commitment to invest about MYR 200 million (USD 51 million) over the next three to five years in its metal treatment plant for the aerospace industry. The plant building will be undertaken by T7 Kolgour Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 joint venture company between the group’s aerospace arm T7 Aero Sdn Bhd and KOV ltd, a wholly-owned unit of UK-based Kilgour Metal Treatments Ltd.

The plant, being the first of such calibre in South East Asia, is to be built within the UMW High Value Industrial Estate Park in Serendah, Selangor, with works to be completed by the end of 2018. 

This new venture represents the group’s efforts to expand its revenue stream beyond the oil and gas segment. The investment involves land acquisition, factory building and training of employees. The company forecasts that the plant will be able to bring in up to RM 180 million per annum in revenue when it runs at full capacity, which is expected to be in the next three to five years.

(Sources: New Straits Times; The Star Online; The Edge Markets)

Malaysia’s Aviation Industry Expects Growth

January 2018

Malaysia is forecasted to record a high single-digit growth rate in its aviation industry based on the local inbound and outbound demand. According to CAPA Centre for Aviation, the expansion will be led by the national flag carrier Malaysia Airlines and the local low-cost carrier AirAsia. The industry recorded 10% growth in 2017, the fastest growth since 2013.

The country's leading airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) anticipates five new airlines to fly to Malaysia in 2018 in addition to the nine new airlines registered with the airport operator in 2017. According to MAHB, its 39 airports in Malaysia recorded passenger traffic of 96.5 million passengers in 2017, an 8.5% growth from 2016. The group will be focusing on enhancing airside connectivity development at KLIA and its regional international airports which include automation to mitigate its capacity issues and overhauling ageing assets.

(Sources: The New Straits Times; The Edge Markets)

Rolls-Royce Seeking More Suppliers

January 2018

Global aero engines producer Rolls-Royce is looking for more suppliers from Malaysia and across Asia as the company transforms its global supply chain from a make:buy ratio of 70:30 to 20:80. In 2015, Malaysian conglomerate UMW Holdings signed a 25 year-agreement with Rolls-Royce to manufacture and assemble fan cases for the company's Trent 1000 and Trent 7000 aero engines. The agreement marked a milestone not only for UMW but also for Malaysia as the company becomes the first Malaysian Tier-1 supplier to the global engine maker.

According to Rolls-Royce, it is looking for opportunities to balance its supply chain globally and Asia Pacific region accounts up to USD 2 billion for the spending. To date, Rolls-Royce is supported by over 8,000 suppliers across 70 countries with 25 suppliers based in Asia Pacific. 

The export of aerospace parts from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) increased steadily from USD 24 billion in 2012 to USD 27.5 billion in 2016. According to Frost & Sullivan’s aerospace outlook report, Asia Pacific will be the largest market for maintenance, repair and overhaul services by 2036 and Malaysia is expected to have the fastest growth at 8.9% per year. 

(Sources: The STAR; The Malaysian Reserve; Frost & Sullivan)

Turkish Defense Firm Expands Regionally Through Malaysian Subsidiary

December 2017

ASELSAN, the largest defense electronics company in Turkey, is set to expand into the South East Asian region through its wholly-owned subsidiary in Malaysia, ASELSAN Malaysia. Established in 2017 with the purpose of local production of its remote controlled stabilised naval gun systems, ASELSAN Malaysia will oversee the Malaysian market as well as act as a regional hub for sales, after-sales and R&D activities, in areas such as air and sea defense, radar systems, communications and electronic warfare.

The SMASH 30 mm remote controlled stabilised naval gun system can be integrated on battle ships, coast guard and patrol boats, landing ships and other naval platforms. It is fitted with a 30 mm Mk 44 Bushmaster-II cannon that can fire up to 200 rounds/minute, and can be operated either via an operator console or in automatic tracking mode.

The first SMASH 30 mm system was inducted to the Malaysia Coast Guard inventory following the successful accomplishment of HAT & SAT tests in April 2017, and will be integrated to the 44 meter long boats of the Malaysian Armed Forces. As part of the company's agreement to transfer technology and know-how to Malaysia, the assembly, integration and tests of the SMASH 30 mm system are undertaken locally by Malaysian engineers after they undergo comprehensive training. 

(Sources: ASELSAN; Defense Turkey)

Malaysia Seeks Light Combat Aircraft As Part Of Wider Modernization Plans

November 2017

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is looking to procure a new “low-end” fighter and attack aircraft as part of its plan to tailor its combat capabilities to meet current and future threats. Under the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement program, RMAF is looking for a single-engined, supersonic platform to augment its current fleets of single-seat BAE Systems Hawk and twin-engined Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flanker’ fighters. Malaysia has previously acquired large twin-seat and twin-engined aircrafts because of its large maritime areas but it is now changing its strategy amid the economic downturn caused by the drop in the global oil price.

RMAF is considering all options available but is seriously considering to acquire T-50 Golden Eagle/FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircrafts manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).  They are used by the air forces of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea.

(Source: IHS Janes)

Malaysia Acquires Security Equipment From China

October 2017

Malaysia has agreed in principle to acquire high-tech equipment from China to combat crime. Among the equipment is the super-fast advanced scanner that can identify illicit items such as drugs and weapons that are hidden inside a moving vessel instantly. This machine was developed by the Public Security Ministry of China and is currently used at China’s airports and seaports. Malaysia’s Counter Messaging Centre will also be equipped with systems from China that are able to track online terrorism messages.

The acquisition of these equipment is part of the Malaysian Home Ministry’s initiatives to upgrade Malaysia’s capability and effectiveness to combat international transborder crimes. In addition to China, Malaysia also extends security cooperation in combating terrorism and transborder crime to the international community, particularly with Interpol.

(Sources: The Diplomat; The Sun Daily)

Honeywell Opens Its Asean Principal Hub In Kuala Lumpur

October 2017

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, is the first global company to join Malaysia’s Principal Hub initiative. Introduced in May 2015, it was introduced to attract more foreign investments into the country. As one of America’s largest conglomerate and a global innovation leader, Honeywell has chosen Greater KL to establish its ASEAN Principal Hub for Aerospace, Automation Control & Solutions (ACS) and Performance Materials & Technologies (PMT) strategic business units. This investment was a collaborative effort by InvestKL and MIDA.

With three business groups already operating in Malaysia since 1985, Honeywell’s decision to establish their Principal Hub in Greater KL gives a resounding testament to Greater KL as the optimal location for regional hub for multinational companies in Asia.

(Sources: InvestKL; American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce)

Boeing And Malaysia Airlines Berhad Sign MoU For 16 Airplanes

September 2017

Malaysia Airlines Berhad has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing to order a total 16 aircrafts to replace its existing fleet. The MoU includes the purchase of eight units of 787-9 Dreamliners and eight units of 737 MAX 8s as well as the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services by Boeing’s Global Fleet Care. The MoU is worth USD 4.86 billion, of which USD 3.63 billion will be the cost of the purchase of the aircrafts at their list prices and without the customary discounts. Boeing will also collaborate with Malaysia Airlines on a new MRO facility located in the airline’s existing hangar at Sepang specializing in the 787-9 Dreamliners, MAX 8s  and Boeing’s new generation aircraft.

The wide-body aircrafts to be purchased from Boeing will allow Malaysia Airlines to operate from its hub in Kuala Lumpur to any point in Europe and some destinations in the United States.  These aircrafts are said to have an unmatched fuel efficiency and superior passenger experience compared to existing commercial planes.

(Sources: Avionics; The Star; Benzinga)

Government Planning To Expand KLIA After 2020

August 2017

The Malaysia Government is considering the expansion of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) after 2020 to accommodate a forecast 30% increase in flight passengers. At present, the plans for KLIA is on the design and consultancy stage, and the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is yet to announce the official expansion plans for the airport. The phasing of the construction is also being discussed as to whether the construction would be a full-blown plan or a phase-by-phase construction. Apart from the main airport expansion, construction of the contact pier building is also in the plan. MAHB also highlighted that the expansion of the airport will cover important areas, such as the check-in counters, security and the immigration, with plans to enhance the services through automation processes.

(Sources: The Malaysia Reserve; Bernama)

Malaysia Airlines Moves A Step Ahead In Digital Aviation

August 2017

In embracing the digital revolution, Malaysia Airlines recently launched its first in-house Innovation Lab, dubbed the iSpace, as it enters the third phase of its transformation towards becoming a digital airline. The 8,300 square-foot facilities, located at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, have a capacity to house 100 people. It is intended to promote an agile and modern workspace, equipped with the airline’s second physical Solution Cafe for helpdesk support, reading corner, gaming, recreational and scrum-free area as well as meeting rooms.

Malaysia Airlines is now performing their second phase of restructuring and prioritizing the successful implementation of Information Technology especially in improving the airline’s customer experience and overall operational efficiency. Currently Malaysia Airlines have completed 70% of the overall planned IT transformation which was implemented in March 2016 and is expected to due by June 2018.

(Sources: Malaysia Airlines; News Straits Times)

Malaysian Navy Launches First Littoral Combat Ship

August 2017

Boustead Naval Shipyard has launched the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The vessel, called KD MAHARAJA LELA, is the first of six LCS ordered by the Malaysian navy under a MYR 9 billion (USD 2.1 billion) contract awarded to Boustead in 2014. The LCS, built at BNS’ facility in Lumut, Perak, derives its design from French shipbuilder Naval Group’s Gowind 2500 corvette. KD MAHARAJA LELA will be incorporated with reduced radar cross section (RCS), acoustic, infrared (IR) and magnetic signatures for a stealthier disposition. The ship’s four-dimension combat capacity will enable it to overcome electronic, surface, submersible and air threats.

The LCS will have a crew complement of 118 including 18 officers and can accommodate one helicopter on its flight deck. KD MAHARAJA LELA has a maximum speed of 28 knots (52kph) and it is the biggest combat ship in the RMN fleet to date.

(Sources: NST; IHS Janes)

MiG-29 Fighters To Operate In Malaysia Until 2020

July 2017

Russia and Malaysia have signed an agreement on the renovation and modernization of the Russia-produced MiG-29 fighter aircraft that form parts of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). The contract, which was signed during the MAKS 2017 International Aviation Air show in Moscow this month, ensures Russian support to Malaysia to operate MiG-29N  fleet until until April 2020. The negotiations for the agreement were initially held during the LIMA-2017 aerospace exhibition held in Malaysia in March 2017.

In 1995, RMAF received 18 MiG-29s, of which 10 are currently operational. Even though the MiG-29 fleet had a low initial acquisition cost, the fleet proved to be expensive and difficult to maintain in long run due to heavy maintenance requirements and poor supply of parts. With this agreement in place, MiG Corp will provide maintenance services and supply parts to keep the Malaysian fleet combat ready. The new contract also reveals Malaysia's plan to operate the fleet until at least 2020, putting to rest speculations that the country was planning to retire the fleet.

(Sources: Aviation Analysis Wing, Malaysian Defence)

Malaysia Airlines To Acquire More Widebody Airbus Planes

June 2017

Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), the country’s national carrier is expected to place an order for six or seven secondhand widebody A330 planes before the end of this year, amid good demand for summer booking. The company has been talking to other airlines and leasing companies to bring used widebody planes to replace its single-aisle planes currently used to fly in five-hour flights such as routes to India, China and Hong Kong.

Its CEO Peter Bellew informed that MAB is managing bookings for the upcoming six months that are looking good with revenue per passenger is expected to increase by around 10% in June, July and August from a year earlier. He also confirmed that the airline is still considering booking around 30 new widebody planes from Airbus or Boeing to be delivered in 2019 or 2020.

The carrier currently operates a relatively small widebody passenger fleet of 21 aircraft, including six A380s and 15 A330-300s. 

(Sources : The Star, Reuters)

USD 18.6 Million Budget For Sandakan Runway Upgrade

May 2017

The Malaysian government has allocated USD 18.6 million for the Sandakan Airport runway extension project, which is expected to get underway by the middle of this year. Sandakan is a city in the state of Sabah, in East Malaysia. According to the country's Prime Minister, the decision to extend the airport's runway was made outside of what were scheduled in the 11th Malaysia Plan, and was made based on his meeting with tourism industry players in the state. 

The upgrading work involves extending the runway from 2,134m to 2,500m, and will be undertaken by the contractor who recently upgraded the Sandakan Airport Terminal. The extension of the runway will enable bigger aircraft to land particularly for direct flights from China, South Korea, Japan and other major cities, and is in line with its efforts to boost the tourism sector in the district, thus uplifting the people's economy.

In September 2016, Malaysia's main airport operator, Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), announced its plans to spend about USD 1 billion over the next five years to refurbish and expand its airports as the country paces infrastructure growth with a surge in passenger traffic. The government would foot part of the planned USD 1 billion investment, with the rest coming from MAHB.

(Sources : The Sun Daily, New Straits Times)

Malindo Air Receives First Boeing 737 MAX

May 2017

Malindo Air received its first Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 this month, and became the first airline to commercially operate a 737 MAX 8 by flying it on the the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route. The airline will receive four additional aircraft of the new series in 2017.

Malindo Air is a Malaysian premium airline with headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. It operates from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (also known as the Subang Airport) in Subang, Selangor, Malaysia. The company is a joint venture (JV) between Indonesia’s Lion Air (which has booked 200 units of 737 MAX aircraft) and Malaysia’s National Aerospace and Defense Industries (NADI), with the latter holding 51% of the JV.  

It is accelerating expansion by adding additional aircraft and expanding its international network, as it prepares for a rebranding as "Batik Malaysia", which is aimed at firmly positioning the Lion Group affiliate as a full service airline. 

(Sources: Air & Cosmos, Flight Global)

Malaysia Airlines To Track Fleet From Space

April 2017

Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) has become the first airline in the world to sign for a space-based monitoring of its fleet. The space-based monitoring system will enable the airline to keep track of its flights via satellites as they travel the globe on a real-time basis. The agreement was signed with three companies engaged in aerospace sector – Aireon, SITAONAIR and FlightAware. According to MAB, real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal for the aviation community, and it is proud to be the first airline to adopt the application.

(Sources : Fortune, Bloomberg)