The current global MRO market is around $79 billion, with the Middle East MRO market expected to account for about 8% of that, according to Jonathan Berger, Managing Director of Alton Aviation Consultancy, a New York-based aviation advisory firm. And while the global market is expected to grow at about 4% per year, the Middle East segment will grow somewhat faster, about 5.3%. In terms of dollar amount, Middle East carriers are expected to double their MRO spending over the next 10 years.
An Oliver Wyman Global Fleet & MRO Market Forecast 2018–2028 puts the global MRO market at $77.4 billion, growing to $114.7 billion by 2028. That growth will be back ended, with an average 3.5% growth the first five years, but growing to 4.5% between 2023 and 2028.
David Stewart, a partner with Oliver Wyman, a New York-based global management consulting firm, put the Middle East MRO market share at $8.9 billion with a 4.3% growth expected through 2028. He also noted that engine maintenance drives about 60% of this spend, a higher portion than other regions because of the preponderance of wide bodies in the Middle East as well as the harsh operating conditions. Today, most of the Middle East engine work is outsourced to third parties. The rest is spread out over airframe, component and line maintenance.
Majority of the work will be for the large fleets purchased by the ME carriers over the last 10 years that are now hitting the ramp up for their first heavy maintenance visits, Stewart said.
He also noted that a major problem is going to be finding a source of highly skilled maintenance personnel. Many experienced mechanics are at their retirement age, with a shortfall of workers to replace them, and there’s lots of competition for personnel with the right skills. The Airbus forecast reported an expected demand for 58,200 new technicians over the next 20 years.
An Oliver Wyman study last year found that within 10 years, the worldwide demand for maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 9%, with perhaps a bigger problem being that an “expertise gap” will be created with the worldwide fleet being divided between older and newer technology aircraft.
While the forecasted dollar values and growth percentages vary slightly among the research groups, the bottom line is that the Middle East MRO market will see solid growth. Covering that growth will be a combination of in-house and third-party MRO operations, with third-party service primarily coming from the region’s major carriers, such as Etihad Airways Engineering and Joramco. The rest will come from the OEMs and worldwide MRO providers such as Lufthansa Technik along with specialty providers of specific component maintenance.
Etihad Airways Engineering
Etihad Airways Engineering, part of the Etihad Aviation Group, is the largest commercial MRO services provider in the Middle East. Its state-of-the-art facility adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport has 42,000 sqm of hangar space, including a hangar that can accommodate three A380s simultaneously and dedicated paint hangars. The company has extensive maintenance capabilities for major Boeing and Airbus aircraft types up to Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380.
Etihad Airways Engineering continues to strengthen its positioning in the global market as an A380 Centre of Excellence and a member of the Airbus MRO Alliance, having carried out complex heavy maintenance A380 projects for leading carriers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It was the first MRO outside the Boeing network to fully strip and repaint a Boeing 787 and has carried out more than 25 heavy maintenance checks on B787 fleets for customers across the globe.
Boasting a strong third-party customer portfolio spread all over the world and servicing an average of 300 aircraft annually, Etihad Airways Engineering has approvals from all major aviation authorities including EASA’s Part 21J Design Organization Approval for major cabin design and modifications and Part 21G Production Organization Approval to produce cabin parts. It continues to expand its extensive range of services which include major structural repairs, cabin modifications and retrofits, connectivity embodiments, major OEM and vendor modifications as well as innovative design, engineering and innovation solutions.
The Abu Dhabi facility has the Middle East’s first commercial test lab in collaboration with Lantal Textiles AG, and a technical training facility with EASA Part 147 and UAE GCAA CAR 147 approved training on major aircraft types.
“We do not just aim to be the largest MRO but the best in everything we do. With a multinational team of highly experienced professionals, strong OEM partnerships and a commitment to deliver the highest levels of customer service, I believe we offer a great value proposition to our customers worldwide who rely on us as a one-stop-shop for MRO service requirements,” says Abdul Khaliq Saeed, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways Engineering.
Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Ltd (Joramco) was founded in 1963 as Royal Jordanian’s Maintenance and Engineering Department. It was privatized as an independent commercial aircraft MRO facility in October 2000, located in the Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) free zone. It operates out of five hangers providing 27,000 M2 of hangar space with 66,500 M2 of run-up ramp. The hangars can accommodate up to 10 aircraft.
It is certified up to D-checks and provides full MRO service on Airbus A300-600 to the A340, Boeing 787 and 737 family to include the 737 Max, and Embraer 170, 175, 190 and 195 airliners. It also provides on-wing inspections up to C-checks and does engine removal and installation. Its geographic range of customers include the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, Russia and the CIS countries. Its aviation certifications include Jordan’s JCARC, FAA, EASA and “a number of others.”
Joramco signed a short-term agreement late last year with Lufthansa Group to provide C-Checks on seven of the German carrier’s Airbus aircraft, to include five A340s and two A320s. The agreement ran between December 2017 and February 2018. The company had already completed work on two A340s for Lufthansa.
Sitting right on the border of Europe and the Middle East is Turkish Technic, a major third-party MRO provider for the region and for Turkish Airlines. Initially created to be the airline’s maintenance provider as an arm of the airline, it was spun off as a separate subsidiary in 2006, with Turkish Airlines holding 100% of the shares.
The company currently provides what it calls A to Z maintenance from its bases at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Goken Airport. The Sabiha Goken Airport facility was created in 2014 when Turkish Airlines Group formed Turkish HABOM Inc., a new maintenance center established to work with Turkish Technic. The HABOM facility includes a nine-bay narrow-body hangar, a twin-bay widebody hangar, and a 36,000 M2 engine center.
Turkish Technic’s base maintenance is certified by FAA, EASA and Turkish DGCA to work on all Airbus aircraft from the A300 up to the A340, and Boeing 737s and 777s. It is also certified for Gulfstream C IV series and GV-SP series. Engine certifications include CFM-56-3, CFM-56-5A/5B/5C, and the IAE V2500-A5 series. Line maintenance also includes the MD-80 series and BAE 146.
Jordan Aeronautical Systems Company
JAC was initially established as a joint venture between Marshall of Cambridge Aerospace Ltd (UK) and the Royal Jordanian Air Force to support the RJAF C-130 fleet. It expanded its capabilities to other aircraft starting in 2006, with the Boeing 737-200. It now provides full MRO service for Boeing 737-200/300/400/500, C-130 (L382) and Agusta AW-139 helicopters. It also provides maintenance on the JT8D, CFM56 and Allison T56-7/15 engines. It is based at the Private Free Zone in Amman Marka International Airport.
JAV Technic is a CAA part 145 Approved MRO, based at Queen Alia International Airport – Amman – Jordan. It initially served as the maintenance provider for Jordan Aviation Airlines but was separated in 2015. Both the airline and JAV Technic are part of the Jordan Aviation Group. It remains the primary maintenance provider for the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, and provides third-party work for Royal Jordanian, Tarom and Tarco 737-300/400s and 767-200s. It expects to receive certification to work on the 737NG later this year. At that time, the company will expand its workforce from 85,000 to 125,000. It also has plans for a new hangar to be built in 2019 that can simultaneously accommodate three A330s.
Lufthansa Technik Middle East
Lufthansa Technik Middle East is a subsidiary of Hamburg, Germany-based Lufthansa Technik and one of the largest subsidiary MRO operations in the Middle East.
LTME CEO Ziad AL Hazmi noted that the Middle East airline industry “has one of the fastest growing fleets worldwide, which naturally requires maintenance and service. Lufthansa Technik Middle East has positioned itself to further add value and services in the region.”
Lufthansa Technik initially began operating in Dubai in 2014 with a small workshop and mobile teams. In February 2016, it opened up a new wholly owned subsidiary, Lufthansa Technik Middle East (LTME), at Dubai International Airport as part of its Lufthansa Technik Middle East Services. In 2017 it increased its operations with a new, larger facility with expanded capabilities.
The company now has over 2,000 M2 at Dubai south and over 500 M2 at Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) for material storage and is currently undergoing an expansion program which may double its working area.
LTME provides full MRO services, to include repair of structural and composite materials and component supply. Its maintenance services include all short and medium-haul Airbus and Boeing aircraft, as well as the Cyclean Engine Wash service available at both Dubai International and Dubai World Central, and at Sharjah International Airport.
Another outside MRO operator to enter the Middle East market is Volga-Dnepr. The Russian-based MRO provider established Volga-Dnepr Gulf (VD Gulf) in Sharja in 1996 to provide maintenance for Russian-built aircraft.
In 2013 it began an expansion program, building a large 22,000 M2 hangar to provide large aircraft MRO. It can simultaneously accommodate six narrow-body aircraft such as the 737/A320, and two 747-size wide-bodies.
In 2015 the company announced plans to expand its expertise to western-built aircraft, obtaining approvals from the UAE’s GCAA and the EASA for maintenance on Boeing 747, 757 and 737 aircraft, and Airbus A320 family and A330s.
As a result, VD Gulf recently signed a series of contracts to work on western aircraft operated by regional carriers. A contract with the Turkish Corendon Airlines calls for it to provide maintenance work on that carriers 737NGs, up to heavy C checks, while a contract with Airblue of Pakistan will provide for maintenance on that carriers A320 fleet. A Russian carrier, Rossiya Airlines has signed with VD Gulf for heavy maintenance on its 747-400 fleet beginning this year.
It has also received certification from the Indian DGCA to work on the 747-400, 737Cl/NG and all A320 family aircraft, allowing it to enter the Indian MRO market.
It is currently planning a line maintenance facility in the Dubai World Center airport.
One of the world’s largest MRO providers, IAI’s Bedek maintenance operates out of 12 bays at Ben-Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv, to include seven wide-body bays and five narrow-body bays.
IAI Aircraft Division provides two complement elements, MRO and cargo conversions. It lists itself as a full-service provider for maintenance on airframe, engines and components, with on-site maintenance services along with ageing aircraft and life extension programs. It is certified by all major civil aviation authorities and is authorized to work on Boeing 707, 737 classic and NG, 747, 75f7, 767, 777-200/300, along with line maintenance for 787s, Airbus A320, A330, A340, Lockheed L-382 and C-130, Gulfstream G150/G200 series and Bombardier Challenger C1600 series.
Total support programs include in-house engine & component overhaul capability.
It is certified for cargo conversions for Boeing’s 737, 747 and 767 aircraft. IAI/BEDEK certifying an STC program for the B737NG aircraft family, with the B737-800BDSF STC expected in mid-2018.
ABL SRL Abu Dhabi
ABL ARL Abu Dhabi is a branch of ABL SRL located in Pomezia (near Rome), Italy. The parent company started operations in Italy in 1993 and opened its Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone facility in 2015. It is an independent FAA/EASA repair station providing commercial, military and governmental customers with maintenance services and supply for emergency components installed on aircrafts and helicopters, such as evacuation slides, engine fire extinguishers, oxygen bottles, life vests, life rafts, floatation systems.
Certifications for its UAE operations include: FAA Part 145, EASA Part 145, GCAA CAR 145 and DOT for the requalification of the cylinders under pressure.
Aerostructures Middle East Services
Aerostructures Middle East Services (AMES) is a 50/50 joint venture between AFI KLM E&M (Air France KLM Group) and Safran Nacelles to provide MRO services for engine nacelles and aerostructures parts for airlines operating out of the Middle East Region. It began service in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in March 2010.
The company provides services for a full range of nacelle types for Rolls-Royce, General Electric, CFM International and Pratt & Whitney engines, and since 2017 radomes, flight controls and all other aerostructures parts. This includes on-wing service for the Airbus fleet of A380 GP7200 / A340 T500 / A330 T700 & CF6 / A320 family CFM56-5A & 5B, the Boeing fleet of B777 GE90 & GE115 / B737 CFM56-7 / B747 CF6 and Embraer fleet of E170/175 CF34-8E engines.
AMES expanded its nacelle service in November 2016 with a new autoclave to handle composite components which will boost its radomes repair capabilities, increasing work on Airbus 320s and Boeing 737s.
Thierry Baud, General Manager, said that “AFI KLM E&M and Safran Nacelles are contributing not only their technical and technological expertise to AMES, but also their sales strike force. This guarantees our customers that we genuinely take their expectations into account when delivering our targeted, efficient services.”
Aircraft Accessories and Components Company
Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC) was founded in 1988 as an aircraft components MRO facility for both military and commercial operators, located at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.
The company said that part of its growth strategy is to support the creation of a new Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) campus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will focus on three key business lines: Civil and Military Landing Gear, Turbines and Aircraft Components and Systems. The proposed new campus is intended to capitalize on the current economic growth in the region whereby the strategic importance of its petrochemical industry resource has resulted in a large and growing aircraft market that is not supported by an indigenous local maintenance, repair and overhaul infrastructure.
asscom Middle East
Asscom Middle East is a subsidiary of aascom, or Aeronautic Support Services, based in Hamburg, Germany. The Dubai facility was founded in 2008 and is based in the Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ). It provides avionics and electronics repair shops, as well as after-sales services including 24/7/365 AOG service, full repair service, marketing and distribution of spare parts plus On-Site technical support. It also provides services to MRO operators such as Etihad Airways Engineering, Gulf Technics, Lufthansa Technik, Joramco and SR Technics.
Certification authority includes EASA Part 145, GCAA CAR 145, EN 9110 and EN 9120.
Execujet Middle East
Execujet was established in Dubai in 1999 to provide charter, aircraft management and maintenance for business aviation. Its primary maintenance operations are at Dubai International Airport, although it also provides line maintenance at Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport. It also maintains a parts facility for “high demand spare parts” and offers regional AOG support through rapid response Maintenance Repair teams.
MRO work includes airframe, avionics and engines for a wide range of business jets and utility aircraft, including Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker and turboprops.
Execujet was acquired by the Luxemburg-based Luxaviation Group in 2015. In 2016 it opened an FBO in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Jet Aviation Dubai
Jet Aviation provides base and line maintenance as well as light scheduled maintenance on a wide variety of corporate aircraft, engines and avionics at its primary facility at Dubai International Airport. It also provides on-demand line maintenance services at Dubai World Central Airport, as well as AOG support at Abu Dhabi Al Bateen Executive Airport, Sharjah International Airport and the wider EMEA region.
It is an Authorized Service Center for maintenance and warranty support for Boeing BBJ, the Dassault Falcon 900 ExEASy, 2000 ExEASy and 7X series, RollsRoyce, Honeywell and Satcom Direct and has full service capabilities for Airbus ACJ, Bombardier Challenger 604/605, Embraer Legacy 600 and 650 aircraft, including L4 and L12 inspections, as well as Hawker Beechcraft 750800/900 series. In addition, it is also a Factory Authorized Service Center for the Gulfstream G150, G200, GIV and GV, G450/G550 and G650 aircraft.
Jordan Airmotive Ltd
Jordan Airmotive is an independent engine MRO company established in 1985, primarily to support the Royal Jordanian airline fleet. In 2006 it became a totally private company owned by Adam Investment Group, a Jordanian holding company. It is certified by CARC, GCAA, FAA, and EASA to provide MRO work on CF6-80C2 series, CFM56-3, JT8D and RR RB211-524 series engines. Strategic goals for the near future include adding CFM56-5 & -7B capabilities. The company said that its customer base covers not only the Middle East, but also Eastern and Western Europe, the Far East and Russia.
Texel Air is a Bahrain-based third-party cargo charter airline that also provides limited in-house and third-party MRO work, primarily line maintenance services at its Bahrain International Airport facility. It also provides third-party airframe base services and can “troubleshoot and rectify technical issues on Airbus A300-B4, A300-600, A320, A330 and Boeing 737, 747, 757 and 767 aircraft, including minor modifications, repairs and “A” checks.
Turbine Services & Solutions Aerospace
Turbine Services and Solutions Aerospace (TS&S Aerospace) is a major aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider based in Abu Dhabi. It currently provides engine service to airlines such as Etihad Airways and to OEMs such as Rolls Royce, GE, International Aero Engines and Pratt & Whitney. It is one of two business units within TS&S, the other being TS&S industrial, providing service for industrial gas turbines used by the oil and gas industries.
TS&S Aerospace was originally part of ADAT, which was owned by Mubadala. When Etihad Airways purchased ADAT’s MRO business, the engine side remained under Mubadala and was rebranded TS&S.
It currently reports being one of only four GE Aviation licensed repair stations for the General Electric GEnx engine and the only one in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. It is also the only independently owned Trent 700 shop in the world. It signed a long-term V2500 parts repair agreement early last year.