Eurocopter's Malaysian subsidiary is planning major expansion, with additional hangars under construction in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and a new facility to be opened in eastern Malaysia.

Eurocopter Malaysia, which opened its first facility only late last year, is more than doubling its maintenance capacity to keep up with increasing demand from regional operators.

Managing director Phillip Lubrano says its main facility at Kuala Lumpur's Subang airport will be expanded by year-end from 1,500m2 (16,000ft2) to 2,600m2 with the addition of two hangars. Eurocopter is also planning to open a 1,100-1,300m2 hangar in Miri early in 2005 to cater for potential operators in eastern Malaysia.

To support existing eastern Malaysian operators, Eurocopter plans to open a logistics centre in Kerteh and is considering appointing one of its customers, Kuching-based Solaire, as an authorised dealer.

The subsidiary has already sold seven Eurocopters and seven fixed-wing Socata aircraft this year. There are now 63 Eurocopters operating in Malaysia, but only eight in the eastern part of the country and the manufacturer is keen to expand its market share in this oil-rich region.

Eurocopter Malaysia now maintains about a quarter of the local fleet and has been taking on more work from Eurocopter and Socata operators in nearby countries.

* EADS subsidiary Australian Aerospace has delivered the second locally assembled Eurocopter EC120B to an export customer. The light turbine helicopter has been shipped to a corporate customer in New Zealand, and follows an EC120B delivered to the Pasedena Police Service in California. Australian Aerospace is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter, established in June 2001 after the take-over of assets of the former Saab-owned Hawker Pacific. An EC120B assembly line was set up in Brisbane as part of the Australian army's order for Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters. The first Australian-assembled Tiger has completed basic air-vehicle ground testing. The Australian EC120B programme was begun in July 2002.

Source: Flight International