Mon 16-11-2020 14:02 PM
By Binsal Abdulkader
DUBAI, 16th November 2020 (WAM) -- The Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, MBRAH, the region’s first aerospace hub, has completed 70 percent of its infrastructure development, a top executive told Emirates News Agency, WAM.
The industry partners have completed 30 percent of their projects in the Hub, Tahnoon Saif, CEO of MBRAH, revealed in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
The MBRAH, based in Dubai South, is expecting more opportunities in MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) sector, as some companies want to focus on their core airline business and liquidate their engineering elements in the current challenging business environment, he added.
Talking about the plan to complete the development of the MBRAH by 2030 and potential challenges in aerospace industry caused by the global pandemic, Saif said, "Responding to market changes is very important but the speed of our response and adapting with new realities is more important for us. We developed 70 percent of the infrastructure with flexibilities to accommodate new solutions that might evolve."
The CEO added, "The airline industry will take a while to recover; however, we are enhancing our value proposition and leveraging our network and access to the world through cargo terminals and Jabel Ali sea port."
New opportunities in MRO services
Established in 2017 as Dubai’s Aviation District and rebranded as Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub in 2019, it is home to an infrastructure that is dedicated to a diverse aviation ecosystem, accommodating commercial, freight, business jets, and aircraft maintenance operations as well as customer-centric, business-friendly solutions for companies, while also offering 100 percent free zone benefits and services.
The Hub is hosting big players like Emirates Pilot Training Academy, Lufthansa Technik and General Electric, GE, as well as Dynamic Advanced Training for Cabin Crew Training.
As airlines around the world look for cost-effective solutions across their businesses in the current economic climate, the CEO hopes that it will open new opportunities for the Hub’s services in MRO.
"We are expecting a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the maintenance business over the next 12 months or so, especially given that some companies will want to focus on their core airline business and liquidate their engineering elements," he said.
This is because the current climate has impacted the global aerospace industry and there will be consolidation in the industry, bringing tremendous opportunities, Saif explained.
Suitable geographical location
"We intend talking to acquirers of companies – the large-sized companies that typically acquire smaller ones to achieve scale and cost-efficiencies - this will enable us forge ahead with our strategy to increase market share. We will present our value proposition, leveraging our location, which is a great advantage that works in our favor compared with other regional hubs," he added.
The benefits of the efficient structure of positioning aircraft for light or heavy maintenance within the "state-of-the-art facilities" at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South far outweigh the high cost base of airports around the world, he pointed out, adding that the geographical location of Dubai at the crossroads of East and West is opportune for airlines worldwide for efficient aircraft maintenance services.
With facilities across the MRO framework comprising engine overhaul and component warehouses to landing gears, the aerospace hub in Dubai South is a one-stop shop for all maintenance-related work. "So in terms of service offering, we have the infrastructure and remain relentless in targeting key players from around the world."
About the key projects in the Hub, Saif said, "We are progressing well with our projects, having signed two important agreements, one is the heliport with Air Chateau for multiple operators. They are partnering with us to build the facilities for maintenance and VIP Terminal services.
"We laid out the infrastructure, they built the facilities and would attract helicopter operators for maintenance and for commuting from the VIP terminal.
"We will also see Execujet have new hangar and maintenance facilities within the next 18 months. Also we signed with an investor to set up a luxury vault to store and safeguard high valued items. Such facilities are well established in Europe and Asia but not in the Middle East."
Towards a global aerospace hub
"Till date, AED2.5 billion (US$680 million) was invested by the government and the private sector in the Hub, and we are expecting a higher growth rate when Al Maktoum International airport takes off with the commercial airline operations," he said, adding that the ultimate investment in MBR Aerospace Hub is expected to reach AED17 billion (US$4.63 billion) by 2030.
About the initiatives and projects in the MBRAH that aims to the make the UAE, especially Dubai, a global aerospace hub, Saif pointed out that aerospace and logistics are at the centre of Dubai South’s operations, and they collectively make up 40 percent of Dubai’s GDP, making them key drivers of the emirate’s economy.
Aviation represents over one-quarter of Dubai’s GDP, with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub assisting the growth of the economy through its contributions to the sector, the chief executive said, adding that the free zone within the hub aims to be home to start-ups and small and medium enterprises, SMEs, from all over the world and across industries.
WAM/ Ibrahim Shukralla