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‘Centre of gravity’ for regional aviation

Brunei Darussalam is “poised to be the aviation centre of gravity”, for the Southeast Asia region, according to AeroAsia Holdings Corporation, a company leading an international collaboration venture to support the country’s aviation industry.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by AeroAsia with a number of other companies to support this development at a signing ceremony at The Rizqun International Hotel on Friday.

AeroAsia said that as of 2023, the aviation services market is valued at approximately USD130 billion, adding that Airbus projects that this valuation is expected to nearly double to USD255 billion by 2042.

Airbus forecasts a demand for 40,850 new passenger and freighter aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years. At the same time, Boeing projects that Southeast Asia will represent 70,000 new pilots, 130,000 new technicians and 210,000 new cabin crews between 2030 and 2042, according to the company.

It said the Sultanate is geographically located at the centre of Southeast Asia with a flight time radius of within three hours.

“Brunei represents a strategic base of operations to train aviation personnel and service aircrafts within the region,” it said.

A concept image for the Y-12F aircraft operating in the BIMP-EAGA region. PHOTO: AEROASIA
ABOVE & BELOW: Company leaders sign the agreement at the ceremony. PHOTO: AEROASIA
PHOTO: AEROASIA

“As such, the country is strongly positioned to manufacture, assemble and convert readily available aircraft with the further potential to realise the creation of up to 10,000 new jobs across various aviation work sectors.

“Through the relocation of existing work currently done abroad to be transferred to Brunei, the materialisation of these new businesses has potential to generate up to USD10 billion worth of aviation related economic activities for Brunei within the next five to 10 years.”

Chairman of AeroAsia Holdings Corporation Dr Nasir Latif signed the MoU to bolster the country’s aviation industry.

Another signatory was Harbin General Aircraft Industry Co Ltd from China, signed by its chairman Song Zhan.

NEW AIRLINE

Harbin represents one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in China, and has produced 2,750 aircraft and helicopters to date.

“Through this partnership, AeroAsia expects to final assemble the Y-12F aircraft in Brunei Darussalam,” said AeroAisa

The Y-12F aircraft is a turboprop aircraft that has already received both the United State’s FAA and Europe’s EASA, said Aero Asia.

“It is able to accommodate 19 passengers for airlines and cargo in bulk or carry cargo in three LD3 containers with a three-tonne payload able to operate on short runways.

“With slight modification, it can be operated for long range flight for a minimum of eight hours of endurance for other potential aircraft conversions such as VIP, maritime surveillance, aerial photography, remote sensing and geological prospecting.”

AeroAsia said it will establish a new airline in Brunei utilising the Y-12F aircraft to specially focus on the development of air inter-connectivity for passengers, cargo and medevac services within the BIMP-EAGA region.

TECHNICAL SERVICES AND TRAINING

Also signatories were United Kingdom (UK)-based companies Interflight Technical Services and Aeropeople Ltd. The managing director of both companies Andrew Villis signed the agreement on Friday.

Interflight Technical Services, a company with over 40 years of experience in maintenance, repair and operation services in the UK and Europe, will expand its base of operations to Brunei Darussalam to work with other operaters in the country to accommodate the projected growth, said AeroAsia.

Meanwhile, in partnership with Aeropeople, AeroAsia will introduce the latest aviation educational programmes at vocational-technical and higher education levels. This will be in partnership with global universities and collaboration with local higher education institutions.

UA Aerospace Sdn Bhd from Malaysia is another signatory, with its president Foong Peng Hoong signing the agreement. The company has 30 years of experience as an aviation consultancy in Southeast Asia.

The EAGA Development Corporation is the last signatory, signed by its chief executive officer Haji Rijal Salim.

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