European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with AirAsia for three new projects in Malaysia.

The projects include the expansion of the Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) maintenance facility, where a new hangar will be added to house four single-aisle or two wide-body aircraft.

The Airbus’ wholly owned plant will also see the addition of new paint and component repair shops, which will use the Airbus Skywise digital platform and automated inspection techniques.

Airbus’ second project is to establish Malaysia Digital Initiative in collaboration with the local stakeholders.

This initiative will aim to implement new digital technologies across its manufacturing and supply chain to increase the local aerospace sector’s competitiveness.

The company will also raise its investment for joint research programmes such as the production of alternative and sustainable aviation biofuels at its Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC).

As a founding member of the non-profit organisation AMIC, Airbus will also appoint an innovation technical director.

Airbus chief executive officer Guillaume Faury said: “These initiatives will significantly enhance our presence in Malaysia, which is one of our most important markets in Asia.

“They will strengthen further our win-win partnerships with Malaysia, contribute to the development of the Malaysian aerospace sector and enable Airbus to benefit from the competencies and skills available in the country.”

A separate agreement was also signed for the delivery of an additional 12 A330neo and 30 A321XLR aircraft for AirAsia’s future long-haul fleet.

With this firm order, the total number of A330neos on order increases from 66 to 78.