Multinational aerospace company Airbus has projected the Philippines as a growing market for defense aircraft, and the firm is open to explore possible investment opportunities in the future.
In a virtual media briefing yesterday, Airbus Defence and Space head of Asia Pacific Johan Pelissier said fleet modernization for military aircraft has fueled the demand in the Asia Pacific region, including the Philippines.
Pelissier added the Philippines is a key market for Airbus, having its physical footprint in the local aerospace industry for more than four decades.
Airbus has delivered five C-295 medium lift transport aircrafts to the Philippine Air Force. The latest contract is a fleet of three C-295 airlifters, one of which arrived last March.
The P5.288-billion contract for the three C-295 aircrafts was signed in 2019 as part of the government’s military modernization program.
Pelissier said the company is expected to deliver the two C-295 airlifters in the coming months.
The fleet has been deployed for humanitarian missions, such as transporting relief aid to areas hit by recent typhoons, earthquake aftermath, and pandemic-related relief efforts.
“The Philippine Air Force’s active use of the C-295 has fully demonstrated it as a reference user of the tactical airlifter in the region,” he said.
He added the C-295 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) can also support the country’s maritime security preparedness, with the increasing need in the region to reinforce assets for maritime surveillance.
Aside from the Philippines, Airbus’ new orders for C-295 include 56 from India, three from Angola, two from Serbia, and one from Thailand.
Airbus now has 284 orders for C-295 with 38 operators worldwide.
Moreover, when asked if Airbus is looking into investing in the country as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) eyes to establish defense economic zones, Pelissier said the company is “always looking forward to explore in those kinds of developments”.
“We are always looking forward to also developing further the support as well as our capabilities in the country if it’s answering and meeting the future requirements requested,” Pelissier said.*PNA