Sikorsky names Thailand as regional service center
Thailand’s bid to become the premier aviation and aerospace hub in the region soared to new heights last week when United States-based Sikorsky, the manufacturer of helicopters and a subsidiary of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, announced it would designate Thai Aviation Services as its support center for the Kingdom, bolstering Sikorsky’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
The agreement will see Thai Aviation Services, or TAS, evolve from a transporter and facilitator for petroleum and energy services around the coasts of Thailand into a full-fledged maintenance, repair and overhaul enterprise. TAS will focus service on Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76 helicopters to start, as they are the most popular models in the region.
The decision fits neatly into the Thai government’s plans for promoting the Kingdom as the region’s premier center for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul. National carrier THAI Airways International and Airbus of Europe have already announced plans to invest in a major maintenance, repair and overhaul center in the Eastern Economic Corridor, the development zone east of Bangkok that will be the nexus of advanced industries.
The zone will showcase Thailand 4.0, the national strategy to transform the Kingdom’s economy into one driven by higher and green technologies, innovation and creativity, and research and development. The government will emphasize the development of 10 industries under Thailand 4.0, and aerospace and aviation are among them.
Sikorsky made its announcement at the 2017 Rotorcraft Asia Show, an annual gathering of those in the helicopter industry.
“This decision further exemplifies Sikorsky’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and to our continued focus on customer support excellence,” said Christophe Nurit, Sikorsky’s regional sales executive for Asia.
“As the preferred service center in Thailand, Thai Aviation Services will provide a critical role in offering the highest level of support for Sikorsky helicopters in a strategically important region,’’ he added.
The service center will be Sikorsky’s seventh in Asia and the Pacific and 20th around the world. The company has worked with Thai Aviation Services for 27 years, and TAS recently purchased five S-76 and two S-92 helicopters to add to its fleet.
TAS only uses Sikorsky helicopters, and specializes in transporting oil workers, technicians and executives to oil rigs and other locations in and around the Gulf of Thailand.
TAS operates helicopter flights from U-Tapao airport, Songkhla naval base and Nakhon Si Thammarat airport, where TAS’s own main service base is located.
Royal Thai Embassy, Washington, D.C.