Adel Al Redha, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief oper­a­tions of­fi­cer, Emi­rates Air­line, of­fers his in­sight into the cur­rent cli­mate in the Mid­dle East’s aviation sector.

Aviation Business - - DUBAI AIRSHOW 2019 PREVIEW -

To set the stage, what are some of the cur­rent chal­lenges that the aviation in­dus­try is fac­ing?

The air­line in­dus­try is fac­ing a num­ber of chal­lenges, vary­ing from geopo­lit­i­cal is­sues in our in­creas­ingly in­ter­con­nected world to cur­rency ex­change fluc­tu­a­tions and fuel price spikes. These fac­tors, taken to­gether, are im­pact­ing the bot­tom line. In spite of these chal­lenges, we have man­aged to in­tro­duce ef­fi­cien­cies across our busi­ness and boosted de­mand to sus­tain a good seat fac­tor. Mov­ing for­ward, we need to con­tin­u­ously ex­am­ine our oper­a­tions and look at op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance our busi­ness. Fuel costs will re­main the big­gest por­tion of our op­er­at­ing costs, which we will need to closely mon­i­tor. In spite of all of this, we will re­main fo­cused on find­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­tro­duc­ing au­to­ma­tion to our oper­a­tions to en­hance ef­fi­cien­cies and im­prove our cus­tomer loy­alty base.

What plans does Emi­rates En­gi­neer­ing have to ad­dress these? How much in­vest­ment do you pre­dict will be re­quired to achieve this?

Emi­rates En­gi­neer­ing is tasked to main­tain the world’s largest fleet of Boe­ing 777s and A380s, and over the years it has built the com­pe­tency and in­fra­struc­ture to create ef­fi­cien­cies and pro­duc­tiv­ity gains across all lines of main­te­nance re­lated to the air­frame and en­gine. Emi­rates En­gi­neer­ing is the most ex­pe­ri­enced and equipped MRO provider in the world for the iconic A380 with over 106 c-checks com­pleted to date, and we have ex­tended our ser­vices to other air­lines. We con­tinue to ex­pand our ca­pa­bil­i­ties, de­velop our re­sources, re­ly­ing on our in-house ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grammes, and adopt­ing new datadriven tech­nolo­gies like air­craft health mon­i­tor­ing, pre­dic­tive main­te­nance, 3D print­ing of parts, amongst oth­ers, to drive and op­ti­mise ef­fi­cien­cies.

Emi­rates in­au­gu­rated the Emi­rates Flight Train­ing Acad­emy at the last Dubai Air­show. Can you tell us how the fa­cil­i­ties are de­vel­op­ing?

Since the last Dubai Air­show, our Emi­rates Flight Train­ing Acad­emy now has 253 cadets, a com­bi­na­tion of UAE na­tion­als and ex­pa­tri­ates who have al­ready com­menced their ground and flight train­ing. We also have 22 Cir­rus SR22 G6 air­craft, five Em­braer Phe­nom 100EV very light twin jet en­gine air­craft and six mini full-flight sim­u­la­tors, three for each air­craft type. The Emi­rates Flight Train­ing Acad­emy has also done over 2,500 train­ing flights.

Why is it im­por­tant for you to be at the Dubai Air­show?

The Dubai Air­show is a key event in the aviation in­dus­try and has now been recog­nised as one of the most highly re­garded shows that brings man­u­fac­tur­ers, sup­pli­ers and se­nior of­fi­cials un­der one um­brella. It is a great event to be able to com­mu­ni­cate and dis­cover the lat­est in­no­va­tion in tech­nol­ogy as well as air­craft. It also pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for mar­ket lead­ers to show­case their prod­ucts to the rest of the world in one of the most pres­ti­gious aviation air­shows.

What do you look for from sup­pli­ers at the Dubai Air­show?

We en­cour­age sup­pli­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the show to present their prod­ucts, take this op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with cus­tomers and work with us to en­hance our of­fer­ing and find more ef­fi­cien­cies when it comes to prod­uct.

Are there any par­tic­u­lar tech­nolo­gies you are look­ing for­ward to dis­cov­er­ing more about at the Dubai Air­show?

We are look­ing for­ward to learn­ing about solutions us­ing ma­chine learn­ing as a means to pre­dict our cus­tomer needs as well as main­tain­ing our equip­ment.

What are Emi­rates En­gi­neer­ing’s in par­tic­u­lar ma­jor up­com­ing pro­cure­ment and ser­vice agree­ment plans that the in­dus­try should know about?

We are still in dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of sup­pli­ers and ser­vice providers re­gard­ing a range of prod­ucts and when we are ready, these will be an­nounced.

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