Malaysia Airlines has an eye to developing its own propeller hub

Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) aims to operate a one-stop shop in the region for turboprop operators via a partnership with US based Piedmont Propulsion Systems, LLC (PPS).

Both companies entered into a memorandum of understanding recently, which serves as the first step in a technological joint venture that allows them to work together in providing aircraft propeller maintenance, repair and overhaul services (MRO) in Malaysia and the US. 

PPS provides aircraft propeller MRO services whereby it claims to be the world’s only maintenance organisation with approval to perform all maintenance tasks on all ATR, DHC-8 and Q400 aircraft propellers.

PPS has worked with industry players such as the Air Canada Jazz, WestJet, Lion Air Group, FedEx Express, Lufthansa Technik, Bombardier Aerospace and the United States Department of Defense in various MRO capacities. 

MAB will be responsible for providing the physical as well as human resources to facilitate repair operations in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). This will allow the airline to support sister companies Firefly and MASwings on the maintenance of their ATR aircraft, while also servicing fellow airlines in the region operating said aircraft in terms of MRO services. Additionally, the airline will also manage the supply chain of OEM replacement parts to be used by the partners.

PPS will provide technical and training support for propeller maintenance requirements, inclusive of re-certification, line maintenance and annual refresher trainings to MAB engineering staff.

PPS will also provide major inspections and repairs where required, as well as supporting the development of alternate repairs and replacement parts. In the long term, PPS will facilitate a knowledge and technology transfer to develop MAB propeller hub and actuator capabilities.

Both parties will also have a role in marketing and promoting the partnership as a technological joint venture to IATA 3 operators, which covers the Asia Pacific region. The joint services offered are expected to generate RM10 mil in three years.

MAB group chief operations officer Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi said, “Despite the reduced flying Malaysia Airlines has on day-to-day basis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever than our aircraft undergo proper and thorough maintenance as they sit in long-term-parking. 

“I foresee in the long-term partnering with PPS will aid us in achieving these goals, and following the industry recovery, this memorandum with PPS will allow us to be a one-stop shop in the region for turboprop operators looking for reliable, high quality and fast service. “Additionally, working with PPS will help us build our own internal competencies, with an eye to developing our own propeller hub as well actuator capabilities in the future.”

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