Malaysia External Trade Development Trade Corporation (MATRADE) in a statement announced the launch of Malaysia Aerospace Industry Association (MAIA) today as an initiative to promote the integration of Malaysia’s aerospace players. This initiative is key to delivering the industry insights to policy makers in driving the sector to greater heights. The launch, which was officiated by YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), is aimed at strengthening Malaysia’s position in the global market and to develop its status as the aerospace hub in Asia, particularly in the ASEAN region. MATRADE as the national export promotion agency will play a main role as the association’s lead facilitator. The association was established as a non-governmental organisation and functions to support and represent the voice of all Malaysian companies in the aerospace sector. Other objectives of MAIA include assisting Malaysian businesses to grow and access into new markets, providing services and networking for industry members and championing the aerospace industry’s interest with focus on public policy development. MAIA will be led by Mr Naguib Mohd Nor, the Chief Executive Officer of Strand Aerospace Malaysia Sdn Bhd who will be the association’s pro-tem president. The pro-tem committee of MAIA comprises top management of member companies who are entrusted to draw the guidelines for the group with an emphasis on capacity development and international market penetration. MAIA’s establishment is also an initiative to assist the National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office (NAICO) which is spearheaded by MITI in overseeing the implementation of the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, growth of the aerospace ecosystem and its infrastructure as well as the participation of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the aerospace industry. MAIA will represent Malaysian companies of all sizes in the aerospace-related civil, defense and space industries. This include its sub-segments namely aerospace manufacturing, aerospace design engineering, avionics & systems integration, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and aerospace training & education. The launch of MAIA was attended by 101 representatives from 53 companies and 25 representatives from 10 Ministries and Agencies. Malaysia, in moving towards a developed nation status, is putting all it forces in place to drive the local aerospace industry – a high-value sector for the country. The total revenue generated from the Malaysia’s aerospace industry has grown tremendously from a mere RM0.9 billion in 1998 to RM11.8 billion in 2014. In terms of size, MRO remains the largest contributor to the aerospace industry revenue accounting for 55 per cent of revenue share. This is followed by aero-manufacturing which makes up 33 per cent of the industry revenue. In the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2030, five focus areas have been identified — MRO, aero-manufacturing, systems integration, engineering design services and education and training. In 2015, Malaysia’s exports of aerospace products recorded a significant increase of 44.7 per cent, to RM4.2 billion from RM2.9 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, imports had decreased by 33.5 per cent to RM10 billion from RM15.1 billion in 2014. There are more than 150 aerospace companies in Malaysia and last year the investments in the aerospace industry had reached RM4.7 billion. The industry has also provided 20,000 jobs — mostly in the small and medium-sized enterprises.