Q&A: EMIRATES MRO
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.
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.