AirAsia is expected to invest up to $150 million into its proposed maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the U-Tapao airport in Thailand.

Speaking to FlightGlobal, a source close to the development says that the low-cost carrier is in talks with the Thai government, and has offered to pay for infrastructure and technological hardware. An MRO partner would operate the facility and carry out the work.

The development would still be conditional on approval from the Royal Thai Navy, which owns the airport, after which it would also require government approval. No timeline for those approvals has been given, but it is expected that the facility will be operational one year after construction starts.

Last November, FlightGlobal reported that AirAsia was building a business case for an MRO centre at U-Tapao after being approached by the Thai government.

The facility will primarily conduct MRO work for AirAsia Group's narrowbody fleet, and start operations with four bays spread across two hangars, before expanding to eight service bays spread across four hangars.

The Thai government has announced plans to turn U-Tapao into an aerospace hub. Airbus and Thai Airways International announced in March plans for an MRO joint venture that would be based there.

"The AirAsia facility will complement the Thai Airways-Airbus joint venture in providing both narrowbody and widebody MRO work to airlines in the region," says the source.

Source: Cirium Dashboard