Thales Avionics Considers MRO Expansion In India

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Credit: Thales

SINGAPORE—Thales is studying the opening of an aircraft avionics MRO facility in India, hoping to capture market share in the rapidly growing market while maintaining its “hub and satellite” strategy in Asia. 

The French manufacturer is also looking to expand its partnerships in China to reinforce its intellectual property position and prevent unauthorized companies from servicing its parts.

“India, like China, is a market obviously we cannot be out of,” says Francois Piolet, Thales Avionics' vice president and general manager for Aviation Global Services in Asia Pacific and China.   

Regarding intellectual property in China, Piolet says: “We are doing more to make sure our IP is valued properly in the industry, which is less controlled in China. Our intent in China is to create some partnerships, collaborations between us and the actors, where our IP is properly valued and then we help them to do proper work on our products,” including using only approved parts.

The company maintains its Singapore facility as the APAC hub and uses its Beijing facility as a repair hub in China, with its supply chain scattered around the region, including in Thailand and Malaysia.

The company’s supply chain and capacity issues in 2023 are “better than the difficult 2020,” partly because the hub and satellite model components have complemented each other when either unit has experienced a capacity shortfall, Piolet explains.

Thales has seen an uptick for services of cabin inflight entertainment (IFE) systems, following little to no maintenance during the pandemic.

“The pace of IFE innovation is quick and faster than that of avionics, and there is a strong push to retrofit these IFE after five to six years,” he says.

Thales is looking to hire 5-10% more staff each year, working closely with higher level education systems to ensure quality graduates.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.