Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 January 2020

Sanad Aerotech seeks to grow Emirati workforce as it vies to become 'future-ready'

Jet engine MRO company won Dh24.5bn worth of contracts for the next 15 years from Rolls-Royce and GE

Sanad Aerotech, a unit of Mubadala Investment Company, is adoption new technologies to further slash its aircraft engine MRO services turnaround times by 15 per cent. Courtesy Mubadala Aerospace
Sanad Aerotech, a unit of Mubadala Investment Company, is adoption new technologies to further slash its aircraft engine MRO services turnaround times by 15 per cent. Courtesy Mubadala Aerospace

Abu Dhabi's Sanad Aerotech, whose clients include engine-makers Rolls-Royce and General Electric, is seeking to grow its Emirati workforce and become 'future-ready' with new technology.

The Mubadala Investment Company unit — which specializes in aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul — plans to hire 200 employees over the next two years and adopt new technology as it works on Dh24.5 billion worth of contracts over the next 15 years, Mansoor Janahi, Sanad Aerotech's chief executive, said.

"Our focus in the next coming period is to build up the workforce and nationalisation because the viability and sustainability of what we’re doing, especially as we aligned with the Vision 2030 of Abu Dhabi, is try to maximise the level of Emiratisation," Mr Janahi said.

Abu Dhabi, already a major aviation hub, is becoming part of the global aerospace supply chain as it seeks to diversify its economy away from a reliance on oil. To that end, it is seeking to develop its manufacturing sector. The emirate is home to Strata, the Gulf’s biggest producer of composite aircraft parts, and Edge, a conglomerate of 25 state-owned defence companies tasked with spearheading the development of advanced weapons for the UAE military.

Last month, Mubadala announced the merger of three of its units, two of which are maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers — Sanad Aerotech for aircraft engines, Sanad Powertech for industrial engines as well as aircraft leasing and financing company, Sanad Capital. The new entity will simply be known as Sanad, derived from the Arabic word for “support”.

"There’s a new and fresh focus with the Sanad group: we put significant emphasis on tech and the Fourth Industrial Revolution," said Mr Janahi.

The company is boosting its research and development (R & D) initiatives as it focuses on adopting new technology.

"We want to make ourselves ready for the future," Mr Janahi added. "We believe we’ve got all of the elements to be ready for the future because the business is growing. We are looking to capitalise on our growth, through adoption of Fourth Industry Revolution tech."

Last year, 95 jet engines were sent through its facility, with 125 engines expected in its Abu Dhabi International Airport operations this year.

During the Dubai Airshow in November, Sanad signed a Dh500 million deal with GE Aviation to provide maintenance services for next generation engines in narrow and wide body aircraft.

About 80 per cent of Sanad's business comes directly from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) but it also deals directly with about 18 global airlines including South America's biggest airline, LatAm and South Korea's Asiana Airlines.

Mr Janahi said that while geopolitical tensions and global economic uncertainty may have a short-term impact on the global aviation industry, he remains bullish about business, citing record aircraft backlogs and projected growth in aircraft deliveries.

The fleet size of carriers from all regions serving the UAE is forecast to nearly triple to around 1,730 aircraft by 2038, from around 630 today, according to the 2019 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF).

This includes 750 small category aircraft such as the A320 and A321, and 980 medium and large aircraft such as the A330neo and A350 serving the UAE market in the next 20 years. The growth is fuelled by a projected 5.8 per cent yearly increase in air passenger traffic over the next two decades.

Updated: December 8, 2019 12:22 PM

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