Airbus hopeful of Thai sales

Airbus hopeful of Thai sales

Airbus anticipates sales of its cutting-edge military aircraft and space products to the Thai government.

Johan Pelissier, head of Airbus Defence and Space for Southeast Asia, said the company has met with Thai officials and partners here, presenting them the latest defence aircraft and space products.

The European aircraft maker is hopeful for sales to the Thai military and other organisations because the former is set to replace defence aircraft with new models, while large economic development projects like the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) also need high-technology products to support advanced industries in the scheme, he said.

Some state agencies including the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) have selected Airbus for its next-generation geo-information system.

Mr Pelissier says GISTDA has a good relationship with Airbus.

"We are honoured by GISTDA's continued confidence in us. The end-to-end system makes Thailand one of the few nations able to fully exploit geo-information for social benefits, with the contract delivering technology transfer to Thailand, building up local capabilities and involving Thai suppliers. It supports Thailand's 4.0 policy and contributes to the development of space in the EEC and its Digital Park," said Mr Pelissier.

Airbus' defence and space department is also sourcing business partners and investment opportunities in Thailand, such as maintenance centres. Such a facility requires a large volume of aircraft for the region.

He said Thailand is an important customer for Airbus, with the Royal Thai Army operating its C295 medium-transport aircraft. The partnership with Thailand's space sector began in 2004, when Airbus was selected to supply the THEOS-1 Earth observation satellite.

The C295 has helped to modernise the Royal Thai Army's transport fleet, and serves on a variety of military and humanitarian missions, said Mr Pelissier.

"The satellite Airbus delivered in 2008 supported missions such as agricultural and coastal monitoring, as well as forestry and flood risk management. It continues to deliver quality imagery more than four years after its expected end of life," he said.

Airbus also sells to Australia and Singapore, which operate the A330 MRTT, and South Korea, which will receive its first aircraft later this year.

Malaysia, the first export customer for the A400M airlifter, has four Airbus aircraft in service. The A400M is ideal for countries that operate legacy airlifters, as it can fly twice as far or carry twice as much payload as competing aircraft. It has proven its value in humanitarian missions in Asia, most recently to Palu in Indonesia, said Mr Pelissier.

The C295 is suitable for Asian countries that need to monitor large coastlines and secure economic zones, and is being used in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, he said.

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