The recent MRO Middle East show, held in Dubai at the start of March, was alive with activity. From the buzz of the exhibition hall to the plethora of news announcements, there were hugely positive signs for the MRO industry in the region. The previous issue of MRO Management asked how strong the sector was following a difficult few years for everyone and unavoidable global headwinds – but the trade show gave a clear answer.
Take Etihad Airways Engineering, for example, which announced several significant developments at the event. Perhaps the most important of these was the addition of two new hangars at its 500,000sq m aircraft maintenance facility adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, adding 50,000sq m of incremental space to the total site area.
While in the Middle East, I was privileged to be taken on a trip to Abu Dhabi to experience a tour of Etihad Airways Engineering’s facility. The scale of operations was hugely impressive. Many companies like to think of themselves as ‘one-stop-shops’ catering to all MRO needs, and it is easy as a journalist to be sceptical of such claims. But there is no denying this is the case at Etihad Airways Engineering – from the amount of aircraft in the hangars being maintained to the various shops and activities, as well as more recent innovations such as its 3D printing capabilities. This area is growing in both scale and financial importance at the company, and the cabin parts produced are both lighter and cheaper.
Another key factor to Etihad Airways Engineering’s story in evidence during my tour was the positive company culture, which is perhaps particularly impressive given that the workforce is comprised of many different nationalities. It was a great pleasure to speak to many of the skilled employees about the work they do, and the high level of expertise needed to complete it.
Our cover story in this issue is on the maintenance of an industry classic – CFM International’s CFM56 engine – and with such wide deployment around the world, it is also interesting to think about all the skill that has gone into this engine – from design to assembly and maintenance.
With the CFM56 entering a new era of post-production support, our article looks at how the engine is ageing and what the future holds.
Elsewhere in the issue, we explore key topics such as predictive maintenance and tooling, which feature alongside our regular collection of columns.
I hope you enjoy reading the issue.