TOKYO (Dec. 22, 2016) — Bridgestone Corp. will expand its aircraft tire business substantially in the coming years, committing $150 million through 2019 to build two aircraft tire plants in Thailand — one for new tires and one for retreading.
The two plants, scheduled to start production in late 2019, will support the group's worldwide aircraft tire solutions system. Bridgestone did not disclose the location, size, capacity or expected employment for the plants.
Bridgestone has four other tire plants in Thailand: a passenger/light truck tire plant in Nong Khae; a multi-product plant in Ransit; a radial truck tire plant in Chonburi; and an earthmover tire plant in Amata City. Combined, the four plants employ more than 5,000 workers and produce more than 56,000 units daily.
Bridgestone only recently disclosed plans to increase capacity for radial aircraft tires at its 85-year-old plant in Kurume, Japan, to meet what it terms projected "strong medium-to-long-term global demand" for these tires.
Bridgestone also produces radial aircraft tires at its 56-year-old plant in Tokyo, which is dedicated solely to that product, and retreads aircraft tires at plants in China, Belgium, Japan and the U.S. It also maintains sales and service companies in those countries as well.
Bridgestone is considered one of five major producers of radial aircraft tires worldwide, along with Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Group Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. China's Sentury Group is also growing in the sector.
Goodyear also recently announced expansion plans for aircraft tires in Thailand, budgeting $162 million through 2018 to add capacity for radial aircraft tires at its car and truck tire plant in Phathumthani, Thailand. The capacity will enhance existing bias-ply aviation tire capacity at the plant.