Malaysian MRO firm Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) is set to expand, with a new maintenance hangar, as well as paint and repair shops in the works.

Airbus says SAE will feature a new hangar capable of accommodating up to four single-aisle, or two widebody aircraft for heavy checks. It will also get new paint and component repair shops. Airbus did not state as to when these new facilities would be up and running.

News of SAE’s expansion comes as the airframer announced its plans to expand its presence in Malaysia, in a wide-ranging Memorandum of Agreement signed between Airbus and the AirAsia Group on 30 August.

The new facilities will incorporate smart technology, such as data analysis, automation, as well as the Airbus Skywise digital platform to help with planning.

SAE now has two hangars with a combined floor area of 49,000 square metres that can accommodate up to eight narrowbody aircraft.

The company, which became a wholly-owned Airbus subsidiary in 2017, performs MRO works on the Airbus A320 family aircraft, as well as ATR turboprops. Its clients include the AirAsia Group, Malaysia Airlines, Jetstar Asia, as well as Bangkok Airways.

Airbus will also establish the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative, which will see it develop a master plan to boost the Malaysian aerospace sector’s competitiveness through digital technology.

“The initiative will also contribute to the alignment of Malaysian industrial partners with new processes and systems being introduced by Airbus across its manufacturing and supply chain,” Airbus states.

Malaysian suppliers currently produce components and structures for various Airbus aircraft types, such as the A320 family, A330neos, as well as the A350.

Airbus chief Guillaume Faury hailed the latest expansions, saying that it will help the airframer grow its presence in Asia. Malaysia, says Faury, is one of Airbus’ most important Asian markets.

“[These initiatives] will strengthen further our win-win partnerships with Malaysia, contribute to the development of the Malaysian aerospace sector and enable Airbus to benefit from the competencies and skills available in the country,” he adds.