Malaysia is set to get approval from relevant bodies to fully manufacture its first seaplane, according to Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong. The manufacturing will be done by the local firm Delta Aerospace, which is currently in the process of applying for the necessary technical certifications.
Wee also said that if approved, Delta will also be eligible to apply for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approval in the US through the Bilateral Air Safety Agreement (BASA) set between the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and the FAA. He also mentioned that coincidentally, another unnamed private company has proposed to his ministry to build the country’s first seaplane port in Pengerang, Johor, although he did not give out any other detail.
The Transport Minister noted that seaplanes could be sued for air-sea rescue, maritime patrol, tourism, and even military applications. “We also encourage more foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia’s aviation industry. With the right moves, Malaysia could participate more meaningfully in these markets and generate jobs,” said the Transport Minister.
The plane that is planned to be built by Delta is the LA-8 by Russian firm AeroVolga, a twin-engine eight-seater seaplane that first flew in 2004. Delta and AeroVolgo entered into an agreement last year where the former became the regional distributor and support centre in the ASEAN region for the latter’s aircraft.
Through the partnership, Delta Aerospace distributes the AeroVolga LA- 8 as well as the AeroVolga Borey, a two-seater amphibious aircraft, in a number of ASEAN countries. This includes Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Bougainville.
During last year’s Selangor Aviation Show 2021, Delta, AeroVolga, and Swiss firm Aeronautique Design & Service Bureau signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer the intellectual property and the technology required for the production of the LA-8 Seaplane in Malaysia. Delta has also entered a partnership with ATAS Aero Engineering to make Malaysia the region’s centre for seaplane maintenance and training.