THAI mulls options after failing to woo Airbus for U-Tapao MRO project
European aviation giant Airbus SAS, as on Friday (March 6), has not submitted a proposal for the planned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) project for jetliners at U-Tapao International Airport, Sumeth Damrongchaitham, president of Thai Airways International Plc (THAI), said on Saturday.
THAI has been looking for qualified candidates for the project since November 13, 2018 and had invited Airbus as they "are the most suitable candidate with the required specialty and experience".
“Since Airbus has not shown interest in the project, we will have to come up with another plan to choose a new partner,” said Sumeth. “Among the possible options are to open it for public bidding.”
The MRO project is a major component of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) mega-investment project where the government aims to promote aviation and other industries. Dubbed as the largest MRO hub of its kind planned for Asia Pacific, the U-Tapao facility will have an annual capacity to service up to 4,800 wide-bodied aircrafts over the next two decades.
A source at THAI speculated that the reason behind Airbus not showing up is that they are uncertain they could fulfill the condition of bringing in a specific number of customers or aircraft to use the MRO throughout the contract period, and that Airbus already has another MRO contract in Sepang, Malaysia.