July 18, 2008

MAS Subsidiary Plans MRO Joint Venture With Italian Firm

By Lokman Mansor

FARNBOROUGH: MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), plans to set up a joint venture in Malaysia with Italy's Alenia Aeronavali to provide aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

Both companies signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) at the Farnborough International Air Show here yesterday that will see MAE having majority stake in the venture.

MAE managing director Mohd Roslan Ismail said the proposed MRO will support the future fleet of 15 Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) aircraft that will join two MAS subsidiaries, namely Firefly and MASwings, as well as other potential operators in the region during its first stage of operations.

"In the second stage, the joint venture will develop additional business opportunity in the cargo conversions and specialized activities," he said at the signing ceremony.

Alenia Aeronavali was represented by its chief executive officer Gennaro Di Capua. Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, Malaysia Airlines executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin, and Alenia Aeronautica chief executive officer Giovanni Bertolone.

Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica Company, is the largest Italian aeronautic player which operates world-wide in the commercial and military aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostructures.

Roslan said Aeronavali has more than 50 years experience in MRO jobs and is an experienced ATR service provider.

"We can leverage on our collective expertise to continue to offer a high level of safe and secure flight operations. We can also market these services to other airlines at highly competitive costs," he added.

Di Capua, meanwhile, said the new venture will combine the efficiency and effectiveness of an experienced airline like MAS and the knowhow of the Finmeccanica Group's companies in the MRO sector.

"We are sure that the new joint venture will produce outstanding results in the Malaysian and the regional MRO markets," he said.

MAE started as Malaysia Airlines' Engineering and Maintenance division in 1972 and has over 35 years of experience in the MRO business.

With heavy maintenance facilities and six fully-equipped hangars in KL International Airport and its head office in Subang, it manages Malaysia Airlines' aircraft fleet and provides MRO support for the Fokker 50 and Twin Otter aircraft in its subsidiary companies, MASwings and Firefly.

Roslan said MAE also perform third party maintenance work for other airlines such as Qantas and Lufthansa, which comprises about 40 per cent of the business.

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