Middle East aviation services industry to outpace global growth

Airbus expects the Middle East aviation services business to witness a 4.7 per cent average annual growth until 2041, surpassing the global average of 3.7 per cent, says a report

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Muzaffar Rizvi

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Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, at a stand after inaugurating MRO Middle East 2023 in Dubai on Wednesday. — Supplied photo
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, at a stand after inaugurating MRO Middle East 2023 in Dubai on Wednesday. — Supplied photo

Published: Wed 1 Mar 2023, 6:27 PM

The Middle East aviation services industry will outpace global growth as the regional airlines are expected to require 3,020 new passenger and freight aircraft deliveries by 2040, says a report.

Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast report indicates that airline fleet growth will trigger the Middle East aviation services sector to also ramp up significantly over the coming decade.

“Airbus expects the Middle East aviation services business to witness a 4.7 per cent average annual growth until 2041, surpassing the global average of 3.7 per cent,” according to the report released at MRO Middle East 2023, which opened in Dubai on Wednesday.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, inaugurated the two-day event and Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) 2023, the largest cabin interiors gathering in the MEASA region.

The co-located events are welcoming leaders from across global aviation supply chain, helping them discover the latest trends, insights, innovations and commercial opportunities shaping the future of the industry.

MRO investment rising

The Middle East is home to some of the largest airlines in the world, supported by significant fleets that keep on expanding. The Airbus latest report noted that new aircraft deliveries to the regional airlines will bring bringing the total fleet to 3,210 from a 2019 fleet baseline of 1,300 aircraft.

MRO growth is also driven by enhanced adoption of digital solutions as industries advance towards digitalisation as a whole, in order to create efficiencies and reduce cost. More than 65 per cent of Airbus aircraft flying in the region are connected to Airbus’ digital applications, giving live status of aircraft flying and allowing better planning of maintenance tasks.

Regional governments are investing in localising MRO services to locally support this growing industry, thus further enhancing talent capabilities, allowing job creation, education and training in this field.

“Airbus also expects the region to see an addition of 56,000 new pilots, 51,000 new technicians and 100,000 new cabin crews. Worth $9 billion today, the market is expected to be valued at $25 billion by 2041,” according to the report.

Back to normal this year

The industry is expected to recover to pre-crisis levels this year with maintenance and training leading the recovery, strongly enabled by digitalisation. New services to enhance fleet efficiency will support the industry’s decarbonisation ambitions, while demand for highly-skilled labour will increase by more than two million people over the next 20 years.

Husham Osman, head of Maintenance at Royal Jet; Shaune Du Plessis, director of Maintenance Operations at Texel Air; Valter Fernandes, senior vice-preident, Base Maintenance and Overhaul, Engineering Maintenance at Emirates, and Ziad Al Hazmi, CEO at Lufthansa Technik Middle East, joined a panel discussion ‘MRO: The biggest headache’.

The discussion, which focused on supply chain challenges and how airline and MRO business models, are adapting to mitigate the challenges in the MRO sector. The panelists specifically discussed labour and materials shortages, and how MROs and operators are revising and synchronising strategies and business models to develop their capabilities in challenging environments.

“The market is recovering at a faster rate than expected, and we are trying to keep up with this demand. However, this presents new opportunities and we are increasing the skillset in the industry and training people to accelerate capabilities to handle this growth,” Al Hazmi said.

Osman said it is a significant problem for a small aviation firm to charter and operate, because the difficulties “we confront are far greater than those faced by larger ones”.

“In addition, in terms of logistics, shipping became a significant problem due to the extra constraints that came from Covid-19, and customer restrictions are another difficulty,” he said.

Etihad Airways Engineering and Amros Group signed a collaboration agreement to offer transition Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) services to its customers.
Etihad Airways Engineering and Amros Group signed a collaboration agreement to offer transition Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) services to its customers.

Etihad Engineering, Amros Group

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways Engineering is entering into a collaboration with Amros Group to offer transition Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) services to its customers as a part of its comprehensive suite of aircraft maintenance and engineering solutions.

"We aim to deliver one-stop MRO and engineering solutions to airlines, lessors and aircraft owners from around the world. Our collaboration with Amros will further support our customers in terms of transition CAMO services provided as part of our MRO solutions for aircraft transitions," said Abdul Khaliq Saeed, CEO of Etihad Airways Engineering.

"We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with AMROS to meet and exceed our customers' expectations," he added.

Etihad Airways Engineering has expanded its total site area by adding 50,000 sqm of incremental space to its facility.
Etihad Airways Engineering has expanded its total site area by adding 50,000 sqm of incremental space to its facility.

Etihad Airways Engineering also announced its ambitious project to expand the capacity of its 500,000sqm aircraft maintenance facility adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport in collaboration with Aircraft Support Industries.

To cater to the growing fleet of aircraft around the world and meet the demand for world-class aircraft MRO services, Etihad Airways Engineering has expanded its total site area by adding 50,000sqm of incremental space to its facility, according to the statement.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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