Sabena Technics plans facility in Asia or Middle East

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Sabena Technics is assessing whether to locate a future maintenance facility in the Middle East or Asia, saying its decision could be influenced by pending MRO contracts.

The Paris-headquartered MRO provider wants to increase its presence in both Asia and the Middle East but has apparently not made a decision on which of the two growth regions it will invest in for a new MRO site.

Different options are being considered at the moment, says chief executive Christophe Bernardini, adding that the most important criteria in selecting a location is what maintenance contracts are in place and where the customer is based.

The company last September inked a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian Aerospace Engineering (MAE) to set up a component MRO joint venture in Malaysia. MAE said at the time that the facility would offer avionics, hydraulics, electromechanical systems, fuel systems, engine and pneumatic components for Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s and ATRs. It added that it could be operational by the end of 2011.

Bernardini declines to give any timeline for the location decision but reveals that Sabena Technics is finalising two MRO contracts at the moment, which could have an effect on the location choice.

The company already operates a line maintenance station for Wataniya Airways at its home base at Kuwait International Airport and supervises A- and C-checks for the Airbus A320 operator.