UAE to enter widebody completions market
The Middle East is to get its first wide-bodied VVIP completions centre following a new deal signed at Abu Dhabi Air Expo today.
The agreement sees Abu Dhabi based Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) building a new wide body hangar – big enough to take at least a Boeing 747-800 aircraft – and develop a world-class VVIP completions centre at Dubai World Central ready to take aircraft up to head of state aircraft size.
The contract was signed by the COO of FAS, Mahmoud Ismael, and his counterpart from Dubai Aviation City Corporation, Rashed Bu Qara’a.
For many years the completion of green aircraft has been dominated by a handful of specialists in Europe and the USA. Two of the largest – Gore and Associated Air Center, now have Middle Eastern owners through Dubai’s DAE and Saudi Arabia’s MAZ group - but there has been demand for some time for the work to be done closer to the region.
“This region is full of VIP aircraft and owners are having to go to pretty distant places to get their aircraft refurbished or their new green aircraft completed,” said Ismael. “We have done studies and we know there is a large potential market.”
The new centre could begin construction by the summer and could be complete by the end of 2015.
A major barrier to entry for this level of completions work has been a lack of an available skills base. Historically, Basle, Hamburg, and Texas have seen the craft and design skills pass from generation to generation.
“We plan to import a lot of people and use their expertise,” Ismael said. “We will be cutting out teeth on refurbishment and then working our way gradually up. We are able to do this here. It is a myth it can’t be done. It can be done. It just requires determination and drive. We have that and so does DWC. We are very keen and together it will happen.
“There are a lot of aircraft from the region coming up for refurbishment and that’s what we’d like to start with. The customers are not experimenting as we are importing the talent and there are pretty well known names among them. We have got the right people to get it established,” Ismael said.
FAS say that the new centre will also eventually create many skilled jobs and also see a number of other skilled crafts develop around the new airport.
Pictured: Rashed Bu Qara’a, chief operations officer of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Mahmoud Ismael, COO of Falcon Aviation Services sign the agreement at the show today.