Etihad | MRO Network


A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Etihad Airways Engineering and Airbus this week to develop a new maintenance service provision for the A380 in Abu Dhabi from 2017.

In a move targeting third-party operators of the aircraft, the cooperation will offer maintenance, engineering and upgrade services for the Airbus superjumbo from the UAE, with consumable and expendable parts provided by Satair, Airbus’ inventory management subsidiary. According to the aircraft manufacturer, the A380 services will be particularly helpful to carriers already possessing in-house MRO capabilities looking to offload some heavy checks and upgrades.

While the long-term future of the A380 program has been questioned by some, following Airbus’ decision to reduce production to just one aircraft per month from 2018, the future of its burgeoning aftermarket repair segment looks to be a bright one.

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Long-struggling Air Berlin has bowed to the inevitable and launched a radical restructuring that will see it cut 10 per cent of staff – 1,200 jobs – and trim its short-haul operations.

Having tried to be all things to all men, the airline, which hasn’t posted a positive operating result since 2007, says it will now focus on network operations as it hives off its leisure business into a separate unit.

“The core Air Berlin proposition in future is now clear: a dedicated, focused network carrier serving higher-yielding markets from two hubs in Dusseldorf and Berlin,” says CEO Stefan Pichler.

Tagged Air Berlin, Etihad

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Investors have piled in to a $500m junk bond issue by Etihad Aviation Group, despite the security being rated ‘highly speculative’ by Fitch.

On its own, this shouldn’t raise eyebrows; only a handful airlines in the world carry an investment-grade rating, and aviation has often raised debt and equity from investors who should know better.

What’s interesting in this case is that Etihad Airways is actually one of the very few carriers in the world to hold an ‘A’ rating, though Fitch classified the bond as ‘B-‘ because of the poor creditworthiness of the airlines in which Etihad has equity stakes.

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Emirates Airline has posted its best-ever annual profit of $2.3bn for 2015/16 – a 40 per cent improvement on the previous financial year, which was also a record.

Despite drops in revenue, yield and load factor, Emirates’ margin climbed from 5.1 to 8.3 per cent thanks to a 31 per cent reduction in fuel costs.

With few hedging contracts in place, the Dubai-based carrier could take full advantage of cheaper oil, an advantage that proved vital during a year in which a strong dollar – to which the Emirati Dhiram is pegged – shaved an estimated $1bn off its operating result.

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The Middle East’s challenge: can MROs keep up with growth?

The demand for Middle Eastern MRO services is predicted to double within the next decade. Can Middle Eastern MROs keep up? James Careless reports on this ‘mixed blessing’ scenario.

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In June, after a 24-year hiatus, Air Serbia should relaunch flights from Belgrade to New York and become the first airline from the former Yugoslavia to offer long-haul travel.

The carrier once known as JAT can only do this because of 49 per cent shareholder Etihad, which has arranged the lease of a Jet Airways A330 to Air Serbia. Etihad also owns 24 per cent of Jet, a stake it is on the verge of doubling, if excited reports in Indian media are to be believed.

But although airlines like Jet, Air Serbia and Alitalia should benefit from Etihad’s money, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s sprawling interests make a mockery of foreign ownership rules.

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While last year’s spat between Gulf airlines and their European and US competitors unfolded mainly via communiqués of their pet lobby groups, 2016 could see the battle move into the courthouse.

On Wednesday (December 30) a regional court in Germany ruled against 31 codeshare flights that Abu Dhabi-based Etihad operates with Air Berlin.

The flights in question were originally approved by the German government, which subsequently decided that they were, in fact, outside the scope of the country’s air services agreement with the UAE.

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