New Kuala Lumpur operation aimed at increasing brand's presence in South-East Asia

Eurocopter plans to open a service centre at Kuala Lumpur's Subang airport in December, in a drive to boost sales for EADS general aviation products in South-East Asia.

Eurocopter already operates several maintenance centres in the region, including at Singapore, but wants to offer Malaysian operators a local solution. Parent EADS has also appointed Eurocopter Malaysia a service provider for Socata aircraft to improve support for Socata operators in the region.

There are about 80 Socata aircraft operating in South-East Asia but no service centre. Eurocopter, Socata's Malaysian agent, also hopes the service centre will lead to the first Socata sale in Malaysia.

"If you don't make the investment, people don't buy," says Eurocopter Malaysia managing director Philippe Lubrano.

There are about 50 civilian Eurocopters flying in peninsular Malaysia. Eurocopter Malaysia is targeting these operators, which historically have used outside providers or have ferried their aircraft to Singapore for maintenance. The company aims to service at least 20 helicopters and 20 fixed-wing aircraft a year.

Eurocopter Malaysia began offering some local maintenance services in August 2002, when it started leasing a hangar at Subang, and it added a second temporary hangar in June 2003. The new 1,860m2 (20,000ft2) facility, however, is larger, closer to the runway and includes a complete repair workshop. There is also room to double capacity if demand warrants.

Eurocopter Malaysia plans to apply for US Federal Aviation Administration and European Joint Aviation Authorities approval, which will allow it to seek business from foreign operators. Thailand is a prime target because it without a Eurocopter maintenance centre.

There are about 18 Eurocopter helicopters operating in eastern Malaysia and Brunei. Eurocopter Malaysia aims to open a separate service centre in eastern Malaysia, which has many oil companies requiring new helicopters.

Source: Flight International