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Airbus and Thai Airways International (THAI) are to set up a new joint venture widebody maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility near Bangkok, Thailand.

The two companies signed an agreement at the aircraft manufacturer’s Toulouse headquarters to establish the new JV at U-Tapao International Airport. The accord was signed by Usanee Sangsingkeo, acting president, Thai Airways International and Eric Schulz, chief commercial officer at Airbus, witnessed by Prayut Chan-o-cha, Thailand’s Prime Minister and Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

The facility will be one of the most modern and extensive in the Asia-Pacific region, they say, offering heavy maintenance and line services for all widebody aircraft types. It will feature the latest digital technologies to analyse aircraft maintenance data, as well as advanced inspection techniques, including the use of drones to monitor airframes.

The MRO complex will also have specialised repair shops, including for composite structures, as well as a maintenance training centre offering extensive courses for technical personnel from Thailand and overseas.

“THAI and Airbus have undertaken extensive studies to validate the business plan for this exciting project,” said Sangsingkeo. “Together we will develop one of the most advanced and efficient aircraft maintenance centres anywhere in the world. We are confident that this venture will bring significant economic benefit for THAI and will be a major driver in the development of the wider aerospace sector in Thailand.”

“We are pleased to enter into this major agreement with THAI,” added Faury. “This will further strengthen the long-term partnership between our two companies and also contribute to the success of Thailand’s new eastern economic zone. With the fleet of widebody aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region set to triple to around 4,800 aircraft over the next 20 years, the project represents a sound business opportunity for both our companies.”

THAI has operated every single Airbus type and today flies every member of its widebody family – the A330, A350 and A380.

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has placed a pair of Airbus A320-200neo aircraft with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) on long-term lease, with the single-aisle jets planned for delivery in November 2019 and April 2020.

The new CFM LEAP-1A26-powered aircraft are part of the airline’s continued programme to further modernise its fleet and grow its network.

Steven F. Udvar-Házy, executive chairman of Los Angeles-based ALC, said the company “looks forward to building our long-term relationship with SAS as they continue to add new aircraft to modernise their fleet and grow their network, as well as maximising their competitive advantage in the market.”

Marc Baer, ALC’s executive vice-president, added, “ALC expects these two Airbus A320-200neo aircraft additions will be key to SAS as the airline continues to enhance their fleet operations and provide their passengers with elevated comfort and excellent service.”

 

Canadian leisure carrier Sunwing Airlines has signed an interline agreement with Hahn Air, adding to the latter’s ticketing network of over 350 air, rail and shuttle partners.

Toronto-based Sunwing was founded 13 years ago and has a current fleet of over 40 Boeing 737-800 and B737 MAX 8 aircraft. It flies from 33 airports across Canada and five in the United States to over 45 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Florida.

Ticketing on Hahn Air’s HR-169 document can be booked in Abacus, Amadeus, Apollo, Galileo, Infini, Sabre, Topas and Worldspan GDSs under its own code and issued on its insolvency-safe ticket worldwide.

Andrew Dawson, president of tour operations for the carrier, said the agreement with Hahn Air means it can “offer our wide range of flights to the sun to an increased audience both in Canada and in our destinations.”

Hahn Air’s vice-president of the airline business group, Steve Knackstedt, added: “We’re happy to help Sunwing optimise its distribution strategy and offer wider exposure through eight global distribution systems (GDS). Now travel agents, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access services of this major player in the field of leisure travel, can offer their customers additional vacation options, generating incremental business for Sunwing.”

Hahn Air is the first and only airline worldwide that offers free and comprehensive reimbursement in case of insolvency of the operating carrier. It is 100% owned by Germany’s Hahn Air Group.

Greek regional carrier Aegean Airlines has firmed up an order to buy 30 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, consisting of 20 A320neo and 10 A321neo aircraft.

The purchase agreement was signed by the airline’s chairman Eftichios Vassilakis and Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders at a ceremony in Athens witnessed by Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. The contract followed a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March this year. Aegean already operates a fleet of 49 Airbus aircraft (37 A320s, 11 A321s and one A319).

Vassilakis said: “Our agreement with Airbus augments Aegean’s capacity for development along with a trusted, long standing partner. We invest in the bestselling A320neo family to enhance our competitiveness and to further improve our service offering to our passengers. We believe in the ability of our people to excel in what they do, and they deserve to have the best hardware for the job.”

Enders added: “AEGEAN Airlines is a great example of a resilient and superbly managed airline. It has weathered the country’s financial crisis and come out of it much stronger than before. Moreover, Aegean’s customer focus and attention to service excellence have made the company one of the most awarded airlines in terms of customer satisfaction. We are extremely proud Aegean has selected Airbus to boost the efficiency of their future fleet.”