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Sepang Aircraft Engineering to deepen Airbus partnership

Malaysian MRO firm Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) says it will leverage on Airbus to achieve its goal of being a "leading MRO" in the Asia-Pacific.

SAE chief executive Pierre Reville tells FlightGlobal that this will achieved by deepening its partnership with the European airframer, as well as through upgrading of its employees' skills.

SAE, which became a fully-owned Airbus subsidiary in 2017, has also acquired the necessary approvals to perform engine changes for new-generation powerplants such as the CFM International LEAP-1A and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G that power the A320neo.

"This will be essential as we will soon need to meet the demand for this service from a growing number of A320neo customers in the region," says Reville. "Being part of the Airbus customer services network allows us to tap into the company’s expertise in aircraft manufacturing, MRO, training and development. We can also be beneficiaries of the investment that the company is making in research and technology, especially in the MRO business."

In terms of future capability, SAE is keen to grow its business on performing MRO checks for the A320-family and ATR fleets in Asia.

Reville lists up to eight new capabilities that SAE has developed: component and structural repair of radomes, cabin refurbishment upgrades, pilot seat repairs, propeller brake repair and de-icing boots for ATR turboprops.

However, he adds that SAE has performed some light checks on A330 aircraft, and that there is growing demand for B-checks on the widebody type.

"We are studying whether we should move into this area, but our current focus is still on narrow-body aircraft," he says.

On SAE's capacity, Reville says that the MRO may need two A320 docking bays in the near future, and could add more hangars in the mid-to-long term to cater for the space needed to perform heavy checks and increase its workload on the A330.

"Our hangars are very much full this year [and] our capacity expansion will come from shorter turnaround times for aircraft checks and improved efficiency. We still have a significant capability to grow."

SAE has two hangars with a combined floor area of 49,000 square metres that can accommodate up to eight narrowbody aircraft. This year, it expects to deliver 120 C-checks, 25 aircraft paintings and about 200 radome repairs.

SAE is also an Airbus Flight Hour Services authorised bonded warehouse and logistics centre for Asia-Pacific, where it houses spare parts for A320, A330 and A380 aircraft for airlines that have selected the FHS support package for their fleets.

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