Airbus and Thai Airways International signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) March 8 to jointly evaluate developing a new maintenance and overhaul (MRO) campus at U-Tapao International Airport in Rayong, Thailand.

The MOU was signed by Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Brégier and Thai Airways International acting president Usanee Sangsingkeo.

According to Airbus, the new MRO facility will offer line and heavy maintenance services and will utilize digital technology analysis of aircraft maintenance data, in addition to UAV inspection of aircraft airframes. Specialized repair shops, including a repair center for composite structures, are envisioned for the campus, as well as a maintenance training center for Thai and other regional technical personnel.

“With the fleet in the region set to almost triple to over 15,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, this project represents a sound opportunity for Thailand to develop its footprint in the aerospace sector,” Brégier said. “[It] will help to meet strong demand for maintenance services in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.”

“This facility will be a showcase maintenance hub for the region and will offer its services to airlines across the region and beyond,” Sangsingkeo added.

In June 2016, the Thai government approved an Eastern Economic Corridor development project for the provinces along the northeastern Gulf of Thailand—Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao. Among other investments in the area aimed at port, rail and highway infrastructure improvements, the Thai government intends to develop U-Tapao International Airport into a new aerospace hub for the region.

Mark Nensel