Goodyear announces 10-year expansion plan in Thailand

4_5965CCC774034BA083D1C15D5FC87F31Demonstrating a strong commitment to Thailand, United States-based global tire manufacturer Goodyear announced last week it would be investing $162 million over 10 years to expand production in Thailand to serve the needs of global aviation fleets that are growing quickly to keep pace with explosive expansion in air traffic.

“The world’s aviation fleet continues to grow and is projected to double in size over the next 20 years,” said Goodyear Thailand’s managing director Finbarr O’Connor. “The fastest growth is seen in the Asia-Pacific region.”

In addition to the expanding size of fleets, many airlines are replacing traditional bias tires with radial tires on their aircraft, presenting an enormous opportunity for Goodyear now and in coming years. According to U.S. aircraft maker Boeing “in 2015, there were approximately 22,510 jet airplanes in service, a number that is expected to double over the next 20 years to an in-service fleet of 45,240 airplanes. To achieve that, 39,620 new airplanes will be needed.”

The first phase of the three-phase expansion at Goodyear’s plant in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok, should be completed by 2018, allowing increased production to begin. Ernst & Young Corporate Services reviewed the project and recommended that Goodyear proceed. The project will be presented at a shareholder’s meeting on November 17 for final approval.

Goodyear Thailand is 66.8 percent owned by U.S.-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The Thai unit has been providing original equipment and replacement tires for passenger cars, commercial trucks and retread tires for domestic sales and exports.

The company employs over 1,000 workers in Thailand, and O’Connor said that the expansion would probably result in another 100 jobs for workers in the Kingdom.

With its strategic location and infrastructure, Thailand’s role as a regional hub for aviation is taking flight. THAI Airways announced two months ago that it plans to invest in an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul center at U-Tapao, just east of Bangkok, where the airfield once served the U.S. military during the Viet Nam war.

The government is planning to revitalize and renovate U-Tapao and position it as the third major airport gateway to Thailand after Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang airport in Bangkok.

In 2015, the Board of Investment approved nearly $1 billion in investment applications in three industries: aviation, renewable energy and agriculture. Aviation is one of the sectors being prioritized by the government in its new national development strategy named Thailand 4.0, because aviation is the type of advanced, high-technology industry that policy makers would like to see serving as the main drivers of the economy.