Thailand will become Asia’s aviation hub, industry mag says

aviation3Thailand’s skilled human resources, geographical advantage, and strong government support will ensure that it capitalizes on the rapid growth in air travel demand and is already propelling the Kingdom towards becoming Asia’s leading aviation center, and an all-around leader in the aerospace industry, an aviation industry website said last week.

“Forward thinking investors have in Thailand a ready base for taking advantage of the strong growth in Asia-Pacific’s aviation industry, and can expect to reap great economic benefits,” wrote AviationPros in an analysis piece on its website. “The country is on its way to becoming Asia’s premier aviation hub, and a full-service leader in the aerospace industry.”

According to a forecast by European aviation firm Airbus, in 20 years Asia will have 36 percent of global air traffic, up from 29 percent in 2014, with a growth rate of 5.7 percent per year. “Thailand’s aviation growth is experiencing rapid expansion, as many global aviation subjects shift their attention to the Asia-Pacific region,’’ the article said.

Tourism and the success of budget airlines have been driving growth in Thailand’s aviation sector. From 2014 to 2015, total air traffic in Thailand increased by 21 percent, aircraft movement by 17 percent, and passenger numbers by 21 percent. This generated an increase of revenue to the country.

But the emergence of Thailand as Asia’s premier aviation hub will be the result of more than just increasing air traffic volume. The government’s commitment to supporting the development of all facets of the aviation and aerospace sector through smart planning is a key factor.

“The government’s recognition of the opportunities that lie in Thailand’s aerospace sector has led to the implementation of the Aerospace Industrial Estate Development Plan (2016-2045) at the new U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport. This former military used airport is now being adapted for needs of tourism, and will serve the region south of Bangkok,’’ the website said.

The Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector will also be an important component. “The MRO business in Thailand still has great room for growth. This was witnessed by the AviationPros team during the July 2016 visit to Thailand,” the article said. MRO expenses from 2015 to 2024 are estimated to be about $167 billion in the Asia-Pacific region. Thailand should generate up to $10.6 billion in the next 10-year period, according to government estimates.

“Thailand’s location in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Thai airline industry’s solid connections to corresponding airline industries in ASEAN, presents investors with manifold opportunities in the MRO business. Thailand has further, a well-established aerospace industry base and excellent linkage to automotive and electronics industries. Companies that have already invested in Thailand include among others Airbus, Senior Aerospace (former Weston Aviation), Saab Thailand, Chromalloy, Triumph Aviation Services, Leistritz, Zodiac Aerospace, and GKN Aerospace,’’ AviationPros wrote.

“Thailand has abundant land availability for the expansion of its booming aerospace industry and skilled labor at competitive costs is available, specially compared to other Asia-Pacific countries,” the article said. “Thailand offers multiple advantages.”