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New Straits Times, Biznews, Monday 25 January, 2010

Aircraft parts maker Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM) said it has stopped the production of its two-seater composite light aircraft, the Eagle 150B, several years ago, even though those that were built are still up and flying.

“We stopped production of the aircraft a few years ago, but we have 22 of such aircraft now being leased to flying academies in Ipoh, Kota Baru and Bintulu as well as Thailand.” Chief Executive Officer Datuk Rosdi Mahmud told Business Times in an interview.

“They are now being utilized effectively,” he said.

Rosdi said although the production of Eagle 150B has ceased, the company has gained in terms of acquiring knowledge and expertise from the Eagle programme.

“It is a critical and important programme. This is where we acquired technical knowledge to move into composite components manufacturing.”

“The RM8.5 billion order book of contracts that we secured last year was a result of what we learnt from the Eagle programme,” he said.

He added that the capability acquired from the Eagle programme is significant in the sense that if the company intends to build an aircraft, it can do so, provided that the project is viable.

“But the Eagle programme has reached its viability limit. So we are moving on to other programmes, but I think we can still build aircraft.” He said when asked on his response to the challenge posed by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad for CTRM to build light aircraft based on the Eagle aircraft framework.

Rosdi said CTRM has accepted the former premier’s challenge but will do a study first on the viability of the project.

“We will conduct a study in terms of market viability, technical capabilities and other essential studies. We cannot jum straight into the programme as we must make sure it is a viable investment.” He said.

Besides light aircraft, Rosdi said the company may also look into building bigger aircraft, including commercial ones.

This will depend on the (outcome of the) study. At the end of the day, it has to be a viable investment and business.” He added.

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