PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia is expected to produce its first light sports aircraft in less than two years when the final assembly centre opens in Kota Belud, Sabah.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Dosh Rain Consult International Sdn Bhd, KB Star Flying Club of Sabah and Delta Aerospace Sdn Bhd to seal a tri-partite venture to open the facility under the soon-to-be-formed Sabah Aviation Group.
Dosh Rain Consult managing partner Ahmad Hawardy Abd Hamid said the initiative to put Malaysia into the aircraft export business was made possible by the existing Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (Basa) between the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed in the 1990s.
"The agreement provides Malaysia with the platform for manufacturing aviation products for international markets.
"At Dosh Rain, we intend to build the Sabah Aviation Group brand into an internationally recognised hallmark for quality and high-end products," he said after the signing ceremony here yesterday.
Ahmad Hawardy said the facility, which is set to be a regional centre, would be equipped to assemble a wide range of models.
He added that the project had received considerable support from the Sabah government and was promoted by Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who hails from Kota Belud.
Delta Aerospace director Paul Cranswick said negotiations concerning assembly and type of aircraft were in the advanced stages.
"Assembly will commence with two-seaters but this will be expanded to four-seaters in the near-term, and larger aircraft over the medium term.
"The centre will have an initial production capacity of 40 aircraft per year, employing about 50 staff while final production capacity is anticipated to exceed 100 aircraft per year," said Cranswick.
He added that Malaysia was the only country in the region with Basa and was well placed in a market with huge potential.
The ceremony was witnessed by Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri and Youth and Sports Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Harun Che Su.