Aviation first for capital
Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT)says it is on track to be the first to open a depot for maintaining and testing the newest generation of passenger jet engines from General Electric (GE).
Ground-breaking is expected early next year, with the plant opening in 2013 to begin maintaining the GEnx and GP7200 engines.
Much of GE's engine repair and test work currently takes place at the company's facilities in the US. The siting of an authorised maintenance depot in Abu Dhabi stems from an alliance last year between GE and Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, and involving affiliated Abu Dhabi companies organised under Mubadala Aerospace. ADAT is a part of Mubadala Aerospace.
The GEnx engine will be used on Boeing's two latest passenger jets, the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8i. The GP7200 is a GE-Pratt & Whitney collaboration for the Airbus A380 superjumbo to compete against the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine.
The Abu Dhabi plant will bring "significant new capability to the region", said Homaid al Shemmari, the chairman of ADAT and executive director of Mubadala Aerospace.
Mubadala is leading efforts for the UAE capital to become a global centre of military and civil aviation repairs, manufacturing and training. The drive has included pursuing alliances with engine and components manufacturers to bring high-end repair work to Abu Dhabi.
Previously, ADAT and SR Technics Group, a European aircraft maintenance provider controlled by Mubadala, have received technical and material support from GE to service its CF6 engine, for which the GEnx is a successor, as well as the CFM56 engine. In addition, ADAT has established "on-wing support" capabilities for the GE90 engine and is currently GE's Middle East on-wing support partner for this engine.
Mubadala has also sought to have its aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul affiliates certified to perform work on Rolls-Royce engines. The company said this year the first Rolls-Royce Trent engine repairs could take place in Abu Dhabi by the end of the year.
Middle East airlines such as Etihad Airways are building up their fleets at rates three times faster than the major airlines in Europe and Asia, helping to stimulate new demand for air travel at a forecast 21.5 per cent this year and 10 per cent next year. This growth is driving the demand for local aircraft maintenance. Etihad, for example, has 10 Airbus A380s on order, all of which will be fitted with GP7200 engines, as well as orders for more than 90 other aircraft from Airbus and Boeing due for delivery throughout the decade.
Published: December 15, 2010 04:00 AM