Commercial Aerospace MRO and Manufacturing Sector: Big Opportunities for Growth in Thailand


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Frost & Sullivan and Suranaree University recently organized an Aerospace Industry Seminar in association with The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on September 19, 2017. The Seminar discussed the current market scenario in commercial aerospace MRO and manufacturing, followed by the trends and future projections of the industry. The Seminar also highlighted the existing gaps in the industry, which could be potential opportunities for Thailand.

In his presentation on the Growth Prospects of Aerospace Manufacturing & MRO Industry in Thailand, Mr. Amartya De, Associate Director of Aerospace & Defense, Frost & Sullivan mentioned, “The Thailand aerospace sector is expected to grow rapidly due to expansion in airline fleet size in Thailand and neighboring countries. This coupled with the rising trend of the migration of Commercial MRO activities to the APAC region is creating new job opportunities in ASEAN”.  He also compared government initiatives and policies in emerging countries with those of Thailand, which need to be further improved to compete with the global markets in the region.

Frost & Sullivan estimates, in the next 2 decades, 42% of the 32,146 global aircraft deliveries will happen in Asia-Pacific while that of total aircrafts in Thailand alone is expected to almost triple from 314 aircrafts in 2017 to 811 aircrafts by 2037. This is mainly a result of growing passenger traffic, which will rise from 60 million unique passengers to 180 million unique passengers by the end of 2037. The rise in passenger traffic, aircraft departures, and the aircraft deliveries in Thailand indicate the growing importance of Thailand’s aerospace industry, which creates enormous opportunities in MRO and Manufacturing sectors.

Frost & Sullivan stresses on the US$ 6.3 billion gap that will exist in the Thailand MRO market in the next 20 years thus creating significant business opportunities for the aerospace MRO companies. A total of 7,700 new technician and engineering jobs are expected to be created in the commercial MRO space over the next 20-year period from 2017 to 2037. The market gap of US$ 6.3 billion over the 20 years is enough to accommodate almost three new full-fledged MRO companies similar to Thai Airways Technical Department that can serve the MRO services demand locally in Thailand.

The seminar also gave an opportunity for the industry stakeholders to highlight issues and challenges hindering the growth of aerospace manufacturing and the MRO industry in Thailand.  “Competitiveness from other country policies in terms of investment support, technology transfer and the 49% foreign ownership restriction are the key challenges faced by the aerospace companies in Thailand,” said Mr. Simon Shale, CEO, Senior Aerospace thus highlighting the importance of government support required for growth of the aerospace industry in Thailand.

Mr. Martynas Grigalavicius, CEO, FL Technics pointed out, “Language is a barrier in Thailand for aerospace industry growth which can be subdued if Thai citizens are equipped with English language skills in schools and universities”.

Mr. Frank Boland, Business Development Director, Airborne Support focused on the regulatory and policy challenges that are crippling the aerospace industry in Thailand. He said, “The drawbacks of regulations such as the prevention of Thai registration of aged aircraft and helicopters beyond 16 and 5 years respectively, will prevent growth of general and business aviation.”

Mr. Boland further highlighted that general aviation and local companies need to be supported by the government to help create more qualified manpower for the industry. “Local MRO service providers are unable to support Thai military requirements since, by law, all contracted (outside) aircraft and component repairs should be performed by an OEM endorsed organization,” he continued.

Thailand supports a very modern and sophisticated transportation structure and by being centrally located in the region, it possesses all the ingredients to become an Aviation & Aerospace hub if the government establishes a coherent and professional managing structure with a focused aerospace development policy.

Officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand welcomed the suggestions and the challenges put forth by industry stakeholders. They acknowledged that the government would bring the necessary changes after evaluating all the issues and challenges of the aerospace industry in Thailand through the study and initiatives being developed for the Aerospace OEM and MRO industries in Thailand by Frost & Sullivan Thailand and the Suranaree University.

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