Repair Capabilities Still Limited in Thriving Middle East

DUBAI—The Middle East’s MRO segment is expanded annually above the global average, but a challenge still exists in the region’s limited repair capabilities.

Aviation Week’s Fleet & MRO Forecast data estimates the Middle East to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8% from this year through 2029.

Naturally, the volume of workload--driven primarily by the fleets of carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways--has led to non-Middle Eastern companies setting up in the region, particularly engine and component MROs establishing facilities in the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai South aviation cluster.

However, some aftermarket players with a regional presence identify the lack of repair specialists in certain segments.

One of these is parts supply and distribution specialist OEMServices, which established a presence in the Middle East back in 2014. It did so after noticing a growth in airline demand for on-site-stock and pool access from its facility. Tegionally, aside from engine components, demand is also strong for ATA 21 parts, typically for the air conditioning of aircraft.

“The main challenge is due to the fact that there are still a limited number of repair capabilities in the region,” says Didier Granger, CEO of OEMServices. “Many units still need to be repaired in the U.S. or Europe which increases turnaround times.”

The warm desert climate also contributes to repair challenges, he says. “Some local weather conditions generate higher rates of removal of sensitive systems, especially in the summer period.”

From a fleet perspective, Granger says he is seeing a reduction in Airbus A380 operations in the Middle East, but this is compensated by new aircraft  such as the A350, A320neo and A321neo, along with Boeing’s 777X and 787. 

“The future in the Middle East will depend on various parameters such as the geopolitical stability in the whole region, coronavirus impacting the worldwide economy and new aircraft types such as A350 and 777X,” Granger adds.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.