SINGAPORE — Australia’s defense minister is pressing Lockheed Martin to provide more detail on how the country will be able to maintain its software-rich F-35s.
With 19 million lines of computer code, David Johnston is wondering how Australia can make repairs without compromising the platform or having to transport the aircraft to its assembly point in the U.S.
“We don’t want to have to reboot the aircraft by calling Fort Worth,” Johnston says.
Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong have traditionally been Asia’s most prominent hubs, and now Taipei is striving to compete more fiercely, although making inroads will be tough.
“Taiwan’s geographic location is such that it has the shortest distance to all major cities in the Asia-Pacific region, making Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport an important hub in the region,” said the Star Alliance last month in announcing the new membership of Taiwan’s EVA Air.
New Zealand continues to face a tight fiscal budget, but is moving to procure new primary trainer aircraft for its air force and plans to replace its Lockheed Martin P-3Ks and C-130Hs in the next dozen years.
Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet has signed a memorandum of understanding with Thai Cessna Grand Caravan operator Kan Air to establish Thai VietJet Air, a joint venture operation in Bangkok. Kan Air’s owner, Thailand’s Kannithi Group, will own 51% of the new airline and the remaining 49% will be held by VietJet’s owner, Vietnamese conglomerate Sovico. The partners say Thai VietJet Air will be a low-cost carrier operating Airbus A320s, the same aircraft type as VietJet, on domestic and short-haul international routes from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Jakarta-based MRO provider GMF AeroAsia has become Airbus’s approved maintenance training provider in Indonesia.
Airbus says the five-year strategic partnership agreement “is aimed at developing the maintenance training capabilities locally in Indonesia, based on respective strengths and assets of GMF and Airbus.”