Indonesia aircraft manufacturer inks Thailand, Saudi Arabia deals
State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) has struck aircraft maintenance deals with Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
PT DI commerce and restructuring director Budiman Saleh said the business-to-business deal with state-owned firm Thai Aviation Industry Co., Ltd. included sales, modification and maintenance of various aircraft types.
“The firm started with maintenance of aircraft such as Bell and Sikorsky [helicopters] and CN235 and CN212 [transport aircraft] owned by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry,” he said. “It has then gone into aircraft purchasing and selling to the Royal Thai Police.”
He said the cooperation potential was good considering the eight CN212 airplanes in Thailand.
“They [CN212] are used every day to make artificial rain.”
He said PT DI was also preparing technicians to be sent to Thailand.
The Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has been purchasing airplanes from PT DI since 1978 when it bought two CN212 and two more in 1982. In 1999, the ministry bought two CN235s in transport configuration. Thailand also bought C-212-400 aircraft for artificial rain production in 2015.
The CN235 series is a medium transport airplane codeveloped with Spanish aircraft manufacturer CASA, now part of Airbus Defense and Space, while the C-212 series is a light transport aircraft built based on license from the Spanish company.
Also on Friday, PT DI launched a ferry flight to deliver a CN235-220M to fulfill a contract signed on Sept. 19, 2014, with the Thailand firm.
The aircraft was piloted by Thai Police Col. Suthipong Pectrak and co-pilot Esther Gayatri Saleh, PT DI’s only female test pilot, departing from Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java, to Hat Yai International Airport in southern Thailand.
Budiman said the aircraft could be configured for VVIPs, troop and civilian transportation, medical evacuation and cargo missions.
Budiman said the aircraft was worth US$31 million while a regular model costs between $26 million and $28 million.
So far PT DI has produced 62 CN235 planes for the local and overseas markets, with 35 of the aircraft having been delivered to their buyers in Venezuela, Senegal, Burkina Faso, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.
Budiman said PT DI could meet customer needs in terms of technology, budget and configuration.
As for the deal with Saudi Arabia, the contract is still in process, Brig. Gen. Jan Pieter Ate, the Defense Ministry’s director for defense industry and technology, told The Jakarta Post on Friday. Jan Pieter said that PT DI was selected by Saudi Arabia because it met that country’s military requirements. Other considerations include PT DI’s track record in cooperation with Airbus; and its capabilities in production, maintenance and overhaul.
“We are ready and we have conducted several assessments in Saudi Arabia to plan the capacity [of PT DI] to deploy [for maintenance service],” said Jan Pieter.
PT DI also maintains aircraft for other countries such as Colombia and Panama.
Currently PT DI is completing orders made by foreign countries. Senegal for instance has one CN235-220 on order, while Vietnam and the Philippines have three and two NC212i respectively. The airplanes are scheduled to be delivered in 2017.
Jan Pieter added that PT DI was also working to finish an order by the Defense Ministry for six EC725 combat search-and-rescue helicopters by next year. An initial batch of two helicopters was handed over on Friday.