SkyPark Subang, which is starting up Malaysia's first business aviation facility, plans to select an international partner to help it run its operations by the end of March.

Australia's Hawker Pacific and Switzerland's Jet Aviation and Execujet are in the running to operate a fixed-base operation and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities.

"All three companies have made their submission and SkyPark officials are now visiting their facilities to assess them. It is likely to be a close fight," says a source close to SkyPark.

Both Hawker and Jet operate FBOs and MRO facilities in neighbouring Singapore, while ExecuJet recently unveiled plans for its operations on the island.

The construction of SkyPark's FBO at Subang airport's Terminal 3 should be completed by end-April, almost a month later than expected, and operations are likely to begin in May.

Sources say that SkyPark has finalised its plans for a MRO site dedicated to business aviation and is now in the process of getting the requisite permits from the authorities. Construction could start around June.

Armed with a 59-year lease from Malaysian Airport Holding, SkyPark hopes to transform Subang into a site that compete with the likes of Singapore and Bangkok to become South-East Asia's business-aviation hub.

"Operations are being fast-tracked to ensure that the Malaysian government's goal of making Malaysia the region's leading general and corporate aviation hub is realised," says SkyPark executive director Ravindran Menon.

Switzerland-headquartered charter operator VistaJet will become the first company to base aircraft at SkyPark Subang, with a Bombardier Challenger 604 and a Challenger 605 likely to be available for customers by early 2008.

The company has a fleet of 31 aircraft and recently ordered three Airbus Corporate Jetliners.