Gulf also proves to be fertile ground for repair centres

Abu Dhabi is becoming a hub for aircraft maintenance.

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With the Gulf an emerging centre for global air travel, the region's growing airline fleets require ever increasing repair services.

While Dubai and Abu Dhabi's international airports have become magnets for global maintenance firms, the biggest investments have come from a UAE company: Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.

Its Mubadala Aerospace division has made investments in Malta and other parts of the world as part of a strategy to become one of the biggest global providers of aircraft maintenance services.

With its two main brands, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (Adat) and SR Technics, the company hopes to establish a presence in the biggest markets including Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East.

SR Technics' aviation maintenance facility in Malta is part of a strategy for the company to set up lower-cost operations in Europe to serve some of the continent's carriers.

It follows the 2009 closure of an SR Technics facility in Dublin, Ireland, on the grounds of cost.

SR Technics is also repositioning its Swiss facilities to offload labour-intensive services and focus on high-end, specialised repair work on aircraft components.

Mubadala's most recent initiative has been to create a financing arm, called Sanad Aero Solutions. Sanad's aim is to provide financing to airlines for components and engines, and tie the repair of this equipment into long-term maintenance contracts with its sister companies, Adat and SR Technics.

Last year, Air Berlin and Etihad Airways signed up for US$130 million (Dh477.4m) worth of financing provided by Sanad.

With a keen eye on the heavy spending on military aircraft in the region, Mubadala has also moved into the defence repair market.

Last year, it joined Sikorsky Aerospace Services and Lockheed Martin, both based in the US, to commit to an $800m military aircraft maintenance centre in Al Ain, called the Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre.