Dubai South, which includes Al Maktoum International Airport, plans to expand its "landside" free zone for aviation and aerospace supply chain operations, with a new complex targeting businesses in the global maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector.
"We are investing heavily in landside facilities to support operators on the air side," Tahnoon Saif, vice-president of aviation at Dubai South, said in an interview with The National. "This new SME facility will be a new model for the region – a vertical building that utilises land efficiently by building the workshops vertically, so the whole building interior will be like elevators, with workshops to cater to small maintenance and manufacturing."
Under plans unveiled at Dubai Airshow on Tuesday, a new building will be constructed within the Suppliers Complex – part of Dubai South’s Aerospace Supply Chain strategy – to accommodate businesses in the global MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) sector. Two existing buildings in the supply chain zone are already home to Lufthansa Technik, GE Aviation and AAI (Advance Aerospace Industry), Dubai South said.
The new MRO building unveiled on Tuesday will target small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sector, with a new, vertically-constructed building comprising 12,000 square metres of office and workshop space set to break ground in 2018.
“Having MROs on the land side makes it easier for operators to conduct their operation services, fix aircraft engines and so on and then send it quickly back to the nearby airport," said Mr Saif.
Workshop units will be sized around 749 square metres, and office units around 149 sqm, Dubai South said, adding that the complex is designed to allow for easy and quick start-up for companies providing support services such as fixed-based operations, MRO, supply of aircraft parts, chartering, freight forwarding and fleet management.
The Suppliers Complex is part of broader plans by Dubai South to expand its aviation district over the coming 10-15 years. Mr Saif told The National in an interview last week officials planned to draw up a masterplan for a second phase of the district catering to growth in aircraft manufacturing and maintenance operations. “For sure there’ll be an expansion…depending on land availability,” he said.
Existing occupiers at the 7 square kilometre aviation district include GE Aviation, Lufthansa Technik, AAI, Emirates Flight Academy, STTS Paint facility, Falcon Maintenance Hangar, DC Aviation Al Futtaim, Emirates Catering, JETEX, Jet Aviation, Execujet and Dubai Duty Free.