Emirates Group announces 2018-19 results


The Emirates Group recently announced its 31st consecutive year of profit and steady business expansion.

 Released recently in its 2018-19 Annual Report, the Emirates Group posted a profit of Dh2.3 billion (US$ 631 million) for the financial year ended 31 March 2019, down 44% from last year. The Group’s revenue reached Dh109.3 billion (US$ 29.8 billion), an increase of 7% over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance was Dh22.2 billion (US$ 6.0 billion), down 13% from last year mainly due to large investments into the business, including significant acquisitions and payment of last year’s AED 2 billion (US$ 545 million) dividend. 

 In line with the overall profit, the Group declared a dividend of Dh500 million (US$ 136 million) to the Investment Corporation of Dubai for 2018-19.

 His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said, “2018-19 has been tough, and our performance was not as strong as we would have liked. Higher oil prices and the strengthened US dollar eroded our earnings, even as competition intensified in our key markets. The uptick in global airfreight demand from the previous year appears to have gone into reverse gear, and we also saw travel demand weaken, particularly in our region, impacting both dnata and Emirates.

 “Every business cycle is different, and we continue to work smart and hard to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Our goal has always been to build a profitable, sustainable, and responsible business based in Dubai, and these principles continue to guide our decisions and investments. In 2018-19, Emirates and dnata delivered our 31st consecutive year of profit, recorded growth across the business, and invested in initiatives and infrastructure that will secure our future success.”

In 2018-19, the Group collectively invested Dh14.6 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) in new aircraft and equipment, the acquisition of companies, modern facilities, the latest technologies, and staff initiatives, a significant increase over last year’s investment spend of Dh9.0 billion (US$ 2.5 billion).

 In February, Emirates announced a commitment for 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s worth US$ 21.4 billion at list prices in an agreement signed with Airbus, to be delivered from 2021 and 2024 respectively. The airline will also receive 14 more A380 deliveries from 2019 until the end of 2021, taking its total A380 order book to 123 units.

 Dnata’s key investments during the year included: the acquisitions of Q Catering and Snap Fresh in Australia, and 121 Inflight Catering in the US; the buy-out of shares to become the owner of Dubai Express, Freightworks LLC; and a 51% majority stakeholder of Bolloré Logistics LLC, UAE; the build of new cargo and pharma handling facilities in Belgium, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore and Pakistan; the acquisition of German tour operator Tropo, and a majority stake in BD4travel, a company providing artificial intelligence driven IT solutions in the travel sector.

 Across its more than 120 subsidiaries, the Group’s total workforce increased by 2% to 105,286, representing over 160 different nationalities, mainly influenced by dnata’s new acquisitions and its international business expansion.

 Sheikh Ahmed said, “In 2018-19, we were steadfast with our cost discipline while expanding our business and growing revenues. By slowing the recruitment of non-operational roles, and implementing new technology systems and new work structures, we’ve improved productivity and retarded manpower cost increases.”

 He concluded: “It’s hard to predict the year ahead, but both Emirates and dnata are well positioned to navigate speed bumps, as well as to compete and succeed in the global marketplace. We must continually up our game, that’s why we invest in our people, technology, and infrastructure to help us maintain our competitive edge. As a responsible business, we also invest resources towards supporting communities, conservation and environmental initiatives, as well as incubating talent and innovation that will propel our industry in the future.”

 Emirates’ total passenger and cargo capacity crossed the 63 billion mark, to 63.3 billion ATKMs at the end of 2018-19, cementing its position as the world’s largest international carrier. The airline moderately increased capacity during the year over 2017-18 by 3%, with a focus on yield improvement.

 Emirates received 13 new aircraft during the financial year, comprising of seven A380s and six Boeing 777-300ERs, including the last 777-300ER on its order book. The next 777 delivery is planned for 2020, when Emirates receives its first 777X aircraft.

 During 2018-19, Emirates phased out 11 older aircraft, bringing its total fleet count to 270 at the end of March. This fleet roll-over involving 24 aircraft was again one of the largest managed in a year, keeping Emirates’ average fleet age at a youthful 6.1 years.

 It reinforces Emirates’ strategy to operate a young and modern fleet, and live up to its ‘Fly Better’ brand promise as modern aircraft are better for the environment, better for operations, and better for customers.

 During the year, Emirates launched three new passenger destinations: London Stansted (UK), Santiago (Chile) and Edinburgh (Scotland), and reinstated services to Sabiha Gokcen (Turkey). It also added flight capacity to 14 existing destinations and upgraded capacity to six cities, offering customers more choice of flight timings and onward connections.

 Supplementing its organic network growth, Emirates expanded its global connectivity and customer proposition through new codeshare agreements signed with Jetstar Pacific and China Southern Airlines. It also enhanced its commercial strategic partnership with South African Airways.

 The Emirates-flydubai partnership continued to develop, with Emirates customers now able to access 67 more destinations served by flydubai, and enjoy greater connectivity with 11 flydubai flights operating from Emirates Terminal 3. The partnership alignment also saw Emirates Skywards become the loyalty programme for both Emirates and flydubai.

 Despite stiff competition across its key markets, Emirates increased its revenue by 6% to Dh97.9 billion (US$ 26.7 billion). The relative strengthening of the US dollar against currencies in many of Emirates’ key markets had an Dh572 million (US$ 156 million) negative impact to the airline’s bottom line, a stark contrast to the previous year’s positive currency impact of Dh661 million (US$ 180 million).

 Total operating costs increased by 8% over the 2017-18 financial year. The average price of jet fuel climbed by a further 22% during the financial year after last year’s 15% increase. Including a 3% higher uplift in line with capacity increase, the airline’s fuel bill increased substantially by 25% over last year to Dh30.8 billion (US$ 8.4 billion). This is the biggest-ever fuel bill for the airline, accounting for 32% of operating costs, compared to 28% in 2017-18. Fuel remained the biggest cost component for the airline.

 Against a backdrop of high fuel prices, strong competitive pressure, and unfavorable currency impact, the airline reported a profit of Dh871 million (US$ 237 million), a decline of 69% over last year’s results, and a profit margin of 0.9%.

 Overall passenger traffic remained steady, as Emirates carried 58.6 million passengers (up 0.2%). With seat capacity increasing by 4%, the airline achieved a Passenger Seat Factor of 76.8%. The slight decline in passenger seat factor compared to last year’s 77.5%, reflects the impact of slowing regional economies on travel demand, and strong competition in many markets.

 An increase in market fares and a favorable class mix helped support a passenger yield increase of more than 3% to 26.2 fils (7.1 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM), although the full impact was partly offset by the strengthening of the US dollar against most currencies.

 During the year, Emirates raised Dh14.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) to fund its fleet growth, using a combination of term loans, finance and operating leases.

 Testament to the increasing depth of the Japanese structured financing market for Emirates, all six 777-300ER aircraft delivered were financed via a Japanese Operating Lease with a Call Option (JOLCO) raising funding of more than US$ 1 billion. Emirates has now raised over Dh28 billion (US$ 7.6 billion) from the Japanese structured financing market since 2014.

 A US$ 600 million corporate Sukuk issued in March 2018 financed 2 A380 deliveries; and the remaining 5 A380 aircraft were taken on a mix of operating lease, Export Credit Agency (ECA) backed finance leases, and finance leases arranged from institutional investors and bank base from Korea, Germany, UK and Middle East.

 These deals demonstrate Emirates’ ability to unlock diverse financing sources through access to global liquidity, underscoring its sound financials and the strong investor confidence in the airline’s business model.

 Emirates closed the financial year with a healthy level of Dh17.0 billion (US$ 4.6 billion) of cash assets.  

 Revenue generated from across Emirates’ six regions continues to be well balanced, with no region contributing more than 30% of overall revenues. Europe was the highest revenue-contributing region with Dh28.3 billion (US$ 7.7 billion), up 6% from 2017-18. East Asia and Australasia follows closely with Dh26.6 billion (US$ 7.2 billion), up 5%. The Americas region recorded revenue growth at Dh14.5 billion (US$ 3.9 billion), up 8%. Africa revenue increased by 9% to Dh10.2 billion (US$ 2.8 billion), whereas Gulf and Middle East revenue decreased by 3% to Dh8.3 billion (US$ 2.3 billion). West Asia and Indian Ocean revenue increased by 6% to Dh8.1 billion (US$ 2.2 billion).

 Through the year, Emirates introduced product and service improvements on board, on the ground, and online.

 Highlights include: the completion of a US$ 150 million program to refurbish its entire Boeing 777-200LR fleet with new, wider Business Class seats and a fully refreshed Economy Class cabin; the launch of the Emirates Vintage Collection featuring fine wines that have been stored for 15 years; and new luxury products in First and Business Class developed in collaboration with brands like Bowers & Wilkins, Bulgari and BYREDO.

 On the ground, Emirates introduced a new service so customers in Dubai can check-in for their flights from their homes, hotel or office, and have their luggage transported prior to their flight; it added a new dedicated lounge in Cairo and refurbished the existing Emirates Lounges in New York and Rome; and launched pilot trials for the world’s first ‘biometric path’ at Dubai airport utilizing the latest biometric technology to ease Emirates passengers through check-in, immigration formalities, and boarding.

 Online, Emirates became the first airline to launch 3D seat models using web-based virtual reality technology, allowing customers to preview its onboard product and select seats. It also launched a new feature on its mobile app, so customers can browse the thousands of movies, music and shows on offer, create personal playlists before they fly, and then sync from their devices to their personal seatback screens when they board.

 Emirates SkyCargo continued to deliver a strong performance in a highly competitive market with dampening demand, contributing to 14% of the airline’s total transport revenue.

 In an airfreight market facing unrelenting downward pressure on yields and slowing demand, Emirates’ cargo division reported a revenue of Dh13.1 billion (US$ 3.6 billion), an increase of 5% over last year, while tonnage carried slightly increased by 1% to reach 2.7 million tons.

 Freight yield per Freight Tonne Kilometre (FTKM) for the 2nd consecutive year increased by a further 3%, demonstrating Emirates SkyCargo’s ability to retain and win customers on value despite fuel price increases, and a weakened demand in many markets.

 Emirates’ SkyCargo’s total freighter fleet stood at 12 Boeing 777Fs. In addition to belly-hold capacity to Emirates’ new passenger destinations, Emirates SkyCargo launched a new freighter service to Bogota (Columbia), and resumed freighter services to Erbil (Iraq).

 For 2018-19, dnata recorded its most profitable year with Dh1.4 billion (US$ 394 million) profit. This includes gains from a one-time transaction where dnata divested its 22% stake in the travel management company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), during HRG’s acquisition by Amex Travel Business Group. Without this one-time transaction, dnata profits will be down 15% compared to the same period last year.

Dnata's total revenue grew to Dh14.4 billion (US$ 3.9 billion), up 10%. This reflects its continued business growth across its four business divisions - both organic through customer retention and new contract wins; as well as via its new acquisitions. dnata’s international business now accounts for 70% of its revenue. 

 Laying the foundations for its future growth, dnata invested close to Dh1.1 billion (US$ 314 million) in acquisitions, new facilities and equipment, leading-edge technologies and people development during the year.

 In 2018-19, dnata’s operating costs increased by 11% to Dh13.1 billion (US$ 3.6 billion), in line with organic growth across its business divisions, coupled with integrating the newly acquired companies mainly across its catering division and international airport operations.

 Dnata’s cash balance was Dh5.1 billion (US$ 1.4 billion), an increase of 4%. The business delivered an Dh1.4 billion (US$ 386 million) cash flow from operating activities in 2018-19, which is in line with its enhanced cash balance and puts the business in a solid position to finance its investments.

 Revenue from dnata’s UAE Airport Operations, including ground and cargo handling increased by 2% to reach Dh3.2 billion (US$ 878 million).

 The number of aircraft movements handled by dnata in the UAE remained flat at 211,000. This reflects the impact of the region’s challenging aviation environment on many of dnata’s airline customers. dnata’s Cargo handling slightly declined by 1% to 727,000 tons, impacted by lower demand in the overall air cargo market. 

 In 2018-19, dnata strengthened its position in the freight forwarding industry with the acquisition of more shares to become the sole owner of Dubai Express and Freightworks LLC; and a 51% majority stakeholder of Bolloré Logistics LLC, UAE that operates in 106 countries.

 Dnata also acquired a majority stake in DUBZ, a company that emerged from Dubai’s incubator program Intelak, providing baggage delivery services to passengers arriving in Dubai, and for passengers departing Dubai to check-in their baggage and get boarding passes from anywhere in the city.

 It continued to invest in technology to improve operations and customer satisfaction. Highlights include the launch of: a new cutting-edge resource management system that supports AI, autonomous vehicles, and advanced analytics to optimize staff operations at both DXB and DWC; and a new one cargo tool, a first for ground handlers, to digitize the booking process and service, ensuring a seamless experience at cargo delivery bays, and a unified engagement for customers between freight forwarders and dnata.

 Dnata’s International Airport Operations division grew revenue by 5% to Dh4.0 billion (US$ 1.1 billion), on account of increasing business volumes, opening of new locations and winning new contracts.  International airport operations continue to represent the largest business segment in dnata by revenue contribution. The number of aircraft handled by the division further increased substantially by 9% to 488,000, and Cargo noted a growth of 1% to 2.4 million tons of handled goods. 

 During the year, dnata won over 100 new contracts in key markets, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia and Italy, and coupled it with solid customer retention.

 Dnata significantly enhanced its cargo capabilities in 2018-19. It debuted operations in Belgium with a new 14,000 m² cargo center at Brussels Airport, built tailor-made cargo solutions across new facilities in Dallas, London Heathrow, Adelaide and Karachi, and refurbished existing facilities in Singapore and Amsterdam. In response to customer growth, dnata invested to expand at Gatwick and Manchester, and opened new cargo facilities in Islamabad and Multan airports including Pakistan’s first automated storage and retrieval system.

 Dnata also invested in its pharma facilities, offering more handling capability than any other company in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. Its ability to provide safe and reliable pharma handling services globally was recognised with IATA’s CIEV Pharma certification in Dubai and Toronto, and GDP certification in London and Zurich.

In Italy, dnata increased its share in Airport Handling SpA, a Milan-based ground handler, to 70%.  At Zurich Airport, dnata was re-awarded the ground and cargo handling license till 2025, enabling it to serve customers without interruptions.  In North America, dnata launched ground and cargo handling at Los Angeles and began passenger services at New York’s JFK.

During the year, dnata inaugurated a 2,000 m² state-of-the-art catering facility in Canberra with the capacity to produce more than 60,000 meals a month. In North America, dnata launched operations in New York, Nashville and Orlando through the acquisition of 121 Inflight Catering, and will commence operations in purpose-built facilities in Boston, Houston and Vancouver in the first quarter of the new financial year, with further facilities in the build across the US.

 Revenue from dnata’s Travel Services division has increased by 9% to AED 3.7 billion (US$ 1.0 billion). The underlying total transaction value (TTV) of travel services sold grew by 2% to AED 11.5 billion (US$ 3.1 billion).

 This performance reflects dnata’s ability to tap into, and serve a broad and diverse array of travel segments, partially offsetting the slowing demand for corporate and consumer travel in the UK and in the UAE – its two biggest markets.

 In 2018-19, dnata entered the German market and expanded its travel network in Europe with its acquisition of Tropo, a tour operator selling through online travel agents and independent travel agencies. It also acquired a majority stake in BD4travel (Big Data for Travel), an award-winning tech company which provides artificial intelligence driven IT solutions in the travel sector.

Dnata also significantly grew its contact centre operations with the completion of its second facility in Clark, Philippines, and the purchase of a facility in Belgrade taking its operations to 14 locations in the UAE, Serbia, the Philippines, India and the UK. With added capability and capacity, dnata successfully expanded its service contracts with key customers including a new five-year agreement with Etihad Airways to run its contact centre operations globally.


IAG see 62.6% decrease in profits during H12019

International Airlines Group (IAG) announced recently, that its profit after tax before exceptional items fell down to €70 million during the first quarter of 2019, a 62.6% decrease.

 The parent company of, among others, British Airways and Iberia had recorded a net profit of €794 million in the first quarter of 2018. It sees in this decline the higher price of kerosene and an unfavorable market in Europe.

Along with fuel, IAG also feels the effect of a difficult market for air travel in Europe, including an excessive capacity for demand.

 The group carried 24.4 million passengers in the first quarter, up 6.2% year-on-year.

“In a quarter when European airlines were significantly affected by fuel and foreign exchange headwinds, market capacity impacting yield and the timing of Easter, we remained profitable and are reporting an operating profit of €135 million,“ said Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer.

 At current fuel prices and exchange rates, IAG expects its 2019 operating profit before exceptional items to be in line with 2018 pro forma. Passenger unit revenue is expected to be flat at constant currency and non-fuel unit cost is expected to improve at constant currency.

Air Arabia launches direct flights between Sharjah and Tunis


Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), announced recently the launch of a direct flight from Sharjah to Tunis, Tunisia’s capital city starting July 4, 2019.

The new flight will operate three times a week; on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flights depart Sharjah International Airport at 15:30 hours local time arriving at Carthage International Airport in Tunis at 19:05 hours local time. The return flights depart Carthage International Airport in Tunis at 20:05 hours arriving in Sharjah at 05:05 hours local time.

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, said, “We are pleased to add Tunis to our growing destination network from Sharjah offering a new and affordable travel option to visit the country. Tunisia is a culture-rich destination with a great appeal for tourism and we look forward to the start of this service that will significantly add to the convenience of residents in both UAE and Tunisia”.

Known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries, Tunisia offers its visitors a great mix of attractions spreading from its cosmopolitan capital city Tunis to the ancient ruins of Carthage and its coastal resorts.

Air Arabia currently serves Tunisia from its hub in Morocco with direct flights connecting Casablanca and Tunis. Air Arabia now serves over 170 international and domestic routes from its hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.

Bombardier jet crashes in Mexico, no survivors found


A Bombardier Challenger 601 business jet that took off from Las Vegas with three crew members and ten passengers crashed. No survivors were found.

An aerial search and rescue party located the aircraft on May 6, 2019, in a mountainous area near Monclova, northern Mexico, said Miguel Ángel Villarreal, administrator of Monclova International Airport (LOV), to local news Multimedios. According to him, the aircraft was transporting 11 passengers and 3 members of the crew. Their identity has not been disclosed.

The plane took off from Las Vegas on the afternoon of May 5, 2019, and was expected a bit later in Monterrey, northeastern Mexico. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft over Coahuila.

The cause of the accident is being investigated. The aircraft, registered N601VH, was owned by TVPX Aircraft Solutions, a US-based firm. Its passengers reportedly visited Las Vegas to attend a boxing match.

On March 10, 2018, a private jet - Bombardier Challenger 604 – crashed into Zagros Mountains (Iran), killing all 11 people onboard – eight passengers and three crew members. The victims were identified as Mina Basaran, a Turkish bride-to-be, and her bachelorette party.

Etihad Airways increases flight services to London Heathrow during peak season

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will boost its services from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow during the busy summer period. The additional flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, supplementing the current three daily all-Airbus A380 services between both capital cities. 

Between 26 May and 22 June, four daily flights will be operated on the route, increasing to five from 23 June to 28 September, returning to four daily flights from 29 September to 26 October.

The extra flights are conveniently timed to provide easy connections via Abu Dhabi to and from key destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Etihad’s two-class version of the 787-9 Dreamliner features 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats.

Prototype helicopter to take maiden flight soon

ISTANBUL—Turkish Aerospace (TUSAS) is preparing to fly the first prototype of its T625 twin-engine medium helicopter in the next 5-6 weeks, company officials have said.

Although the company declared a first flight of the rotorcraft last September, this was performed using an aircraft known as P0, essentially a ground test vehicle extensively modified to be able to perform the first hop five years to the day after the contract to develop the aircraft was signed in 2013. The aircraft was christened last December with the name Gokbey, which has several translations, including Mr, Sky and Skymaster.

The configuration of P0 during the first flight was notable as the aircraft lacked doors and panels covering the structure and engine compartment. It also lacked automatic flight control and stability augmentation systems, rotary-wing test pilot Gokhan Virhan told Aerospace DAILY at the IDEF defence exhibition here April 30.

“The aircraft was very stable. It met all our expectations,” he said.

Since that single flight, P0 has been returned to its ground test rig role, supporting testing of the aircraft’s specially developed transmission. The gearbox had been developed in conjunction with Germany’s ZF, but is now being produced in-house, with the third Turkish Aerospace-assembled transmission being used in the first prototype.

The company says it is confident of meeting lubrication run-dry criteria.

The second and third prototypes will follow shortly after P1 and will support commercial certification activity. TUSAS wants to certify the helicopter to European Aviation Safety Agency specifications. Certification of mission kits such as those for the law enforcement or search-and-rescue likely will be carried out on the third prototype.

A fourth prototype may be introduced to accelerate the development program but also could be used to support the development of the military version.

Turkey’s defence materiel agency, SSB, established the development program to provide a replacement for the Bell UH-1 Huey/Iroquois helicopters currently serving in the Turkish Army and air force. As many as 100-150 aircraft are envisaged for this role alone. TUSAS also sees interest from the Turkish Police and Coast Guard.

The Turkish government also is mulling the use of the aircraft as an air ambulance to support the country’s health services.

Production of the aircraft is due to get underway by the end of 2021.

TUSAS engineers already have figured growth into the aircraft and believe they can get the maximum gross weight to around 6,700 kg (14,800 lb.), currently published figure is 6,050 kg.

A key area of interest for test pilots is the Gokbey’s hovering attitude. Many modern helicopters built for higher cruising speeds tend to hover nose high.

“This can be a challenge for pilots if landing in a confined area or on the back of a ship,” Virhan says. He says the aircraft will hover at a slightly nose-high attitude of around 5 deg, but the company has the ability to move some mass such as avionics black boxes into the nose, adjusting the center of gravity. Airbus has carried out a similar approach on its twin-engined H160 to lower the nose in the hover.

The T625 will the first commercial helicopter to use the Honeywell/Rolls-Royce-developed T800 engine originally developed for the Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche, enabling commonality with the company’s T129 ATAK attack helicopter built in conjunction with Leonardo. However, an indigenous engine, the TS1400, currently is being developed by Turkish Engine Industries (TEI). Following the successful ignition of the engine core last year, tests of the core have continued, recently achieving speeds of 30,000 rpm.

The company now is developing accessory modules for the engine to turn it into an operational turboshaft, said Ahmet Kain, programs director at TEI.

Most notably, the company is targeting the extensive use of additive manufacturing in the production of the engine.

“We are looking to produce 30-40% of the engine using additive manufacturing. I think that puts us ahead of the pack,” Kain said.

Development of the TS1400 started in February 2017 as an eight-year program but has been accelerated. Kain says. He expects prototype engines to be available for test in 30 months.

Once developed, the TS1400 will be an ITAR-free alternative engine to the T800.

CAE reinforces its pilot training leadership position in the Americas

CAE announced today at the World Aviation Training Symposium (WATS) that in response to increased pilot training demand, it is expanding its training capacity for airlines in the Americas.

“CAE has steadily increased its commercial aviation training footprint in the Americas to support our airline partners’ growing pilot training needs,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “We will be expanding our training network in the Americas with the addition of more than 15 simulators for a total of over 50 full flight simulators in the region by the end of 2019, that’s a 35% training capacity growth in three years.”

CAE’s strategic partnerships with airlines across the region and its commitment to regional customers paved the way to a new training centre in Bogota, Colombia in 2019 and two additional US training centres in Minneapolis and Phoenix in 2017. 

CAE deployed new state-of-the-art CAE-built Airbus A320 NEO full-flight simulators in CAE Montreal, CAE Bogota, CAE Mexico and in CAE Santiago. In addition, CAE will be deploying a Bombardier CRJ900 at CAE Minneapolis, an Embraer E170 at CAE Phoenix and a Boeing 787 at CAE Bogota.

Commercial MRO market to grow at 4.35% during the forecast period

Global Commercial Aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Market report presents an in-depth analysis of the major Commercial Aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) industry leading players along with the company profiles and strategies adopted by them. This enables the buyer of the report to gain a telescopic view of the competitive landscape and plan the strategies accordingly. A separate section with Commercial Aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) industry key players are included in the report, which provides a comprehensive analysis of price, cost, gross, revenue, product picture, specifications, company profile, and contact information.

 The commercial aircraft MRO market is estimated to register a CAGR of 4.35% during the forecast period, 2019 – 2024.

 With the growing air traffic, carriers are more inclined toward maintaining the health of their current fleet, going for new aircraft only if they have no other option since the cost of buying a new aircraft is considerably higher than the cost for the maintenance of the current fleet. Different airports have introduced improvement processes to enhance efficiency, and several are using new technological systems to gain additional upgrades and prepare for the bigger data requirements of next-generation aircraft, and this shall lead to the growth of the market in the near future.

Governments have started various initiatives to encourage airports to support MRO as a strategic activity. Various holistic approaches are now being undertaken by the governments to ensure that adequate space is mandatorily allocated at various airports within the country for MRO, and this shall lead to an enhancement in terms of commercial aircraft MRO in the years to come.

Scope of the Report

 Aircraft MRO refers to overhaul, inspection, repair, or modification of an aircraft or its component. The market study covers the MRO services only for commercial aircraft, not for military and general aviation aircraft.

 Currently, the field maintenance segment has the highest share out of all the segments. Field maintenance has to deal with very different tasks. These operations are performed simultaneously to lower the ground time, to increase aircraft productivity. Thus, management strongly emphasizes the time-efficiency of ground operations delivered either by themselves, the independent companies, or the airport authority. The time efficiency makes the task even tighter for field maintenance staff, and their efficiency depends on technically advanced equipment, information support systems, and coordination of staff. Thus, the focus is currently on this segment, which is the reason for its expected high CAGR.

 At present, Asia-Pacific is generating the highest revenue in the commercial aircraft MRO market. Singapore dominates the MRO market in Asia. In recent years, several other Asian countries have also increased their investment in MRO facilities, trying to replicate the success of Singapore and Hong Kong in this sector. Low-cost carrier, to some extent, has changed the face of civil aviation in Asia. In tandem with the rise, the market for aircraft maintenance is also changing, as companies in countries like Indonesia and Thailand are also entering the market to challenge the dominance of established Singaporean players. Government policy also plays a key role, and the Singaporean government has been very forward-looking in supporting the aerospace industry. With the growing frequency of flights to and from the Asian countries, the demand for MRO centers is expected to rise in this region in the coming years. Moreover, due to the huge potential of the Asia-Pacific aviation market, several global players are establishing new centres in the region to cater to the growing demand.


The commercial aircraft MRO market is highly fragmented, with only a handful of players controlling the market. TAP M&E is currently the largest player in the market, followed by Pratt & Whitney, Lufthansa Technik, ST Aerospace, and Rockwell Collins. The MRO operation per aircraft is expected to decrease in frequency compared to older aircraft, due to improvement in technology and advancement in the engine and structural design of aircraft. The long aircraft order backlog will force older aircraft to run longer shifts and as population rises, globally, the active aircraft fleet will find it difficult to cater to the required capacity demand. Commercial airline MRO is expected to be active during the forecast period, as airlines compete to bring in more passengers and provide better facilities inside the aircraft cabin. Joint ventures between the players can help the companies strengthen their market presence.

Boeing estimates the cost of 737 MAX grounding at $1 billion


While presenting its financial results for the first quarter of 2019, Boeing estimated the price of the 737 MAX grounding since mid-March at $1 billion. This number only takes into account an increase in production costs for the aircraft. Possible compensations for the victims’ family and the airlines are left out for now.

Net profit fell 13% to $2.1 billion compared to the same period last year, while revenues are at $ 22.9 billion, down 1.98%, the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement. The Boeing backlog remains substantial with over 5,600 airplanes valued at $399 billion.

Impacted by the grounding of the 737 MAX, which led to an interruption of deliveries, Boeing decided to suspend the annual goals that were issued earlier this year. After reporting the best financial results in its history in 2018, the manufacturer had forecasted a 20% increase in operating income for the next year. Boeing says that new guidance should be issued at a future date.

"Across the company, we are focused on safety, returning the 737 MAX to service, and earning and re-earning the trust and confidence of customers, regulators and the flying public," said Boeing Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg.

After the production of the Boeing 737 MAX was reduced from 52 to 42 aircraft per month, deliveries of all civil aircraft fell to 149 units, a 19% decrease compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Contrary to what some expected, no date was given for the submission of the 737 MAX update to the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR), the committee composed of nine aviation regulators that will review the changes of the aircraft’s automated flight control system.

But the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX is not the only setback that the manufacturer faced lately. In fact, it has now has accumulated quite a few.

The most recent one surrounds the 787 Dreamliner. On April 20, 2019, an investigation carried out by the New York Times reported that several employees doubted of the aircraft’s safety. The research was based on internal e-mails, administrative documents, and interviews of several employees

The newspaper points at the group's state-of-the-art factory opened in 2009 near the city of Charleston, South Carolina. After shortcomings in its capacity to meet delivery deadlines, the company allegedly pushed its employees to speed up the production output. This led to metal debris being found in the wiring of some aircraft, and even a ladder and work lights near the gears of a horizontal stabilizer.

According to the New York Times, Qatar Airways stopped accepting planes from this specific factory after manufacturing accidents that damaged jets and delayed deliveries. The airline did not confirm this information.

As for Boeing, it denied all the allegations of the investigation in a corporate letter. In fact, Brad Zaback, Vice President and general manager of the 787 Program states that “our quality metrics show that we are performing at all-time high levels as well”.

It is not the first time that Boeing is faced with a production problem lately. The United States Air Force interrupted the deliveries of the KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft twice, on February 28, 2019, and on March 23, 2019, after foreign object debris (FOD) and loose tools were found in the tankers they received. Here again, these quality discrepancies could be attributed to a deliberate will to speed up production, as the KC-46 deliveries are already running late by several years.


AI breakthroughs could predict aviation engine component degradation

 Breakthrough artificial intelligence (AI) technologies developed in Queensland can be very beneficial to both the health and aviation sectors.

 According to a recent press release, the AI technologies can help improve insulin dosing for diabetics as well as transform the way an aeroplane engine wear-and-tear is monitored.

 An alumnus of the University of Queensland, in Australia, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) as well as a PhD in in Applied Mathematics, developed the technology and worked with others from the University to build real-world applications.

 One application they built made it to the top 10 of a global challenge for AI applications to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges. They were able to build a machine-intelligent artificial pancreas.

 Additionally, the health sector will gain from what the team is working on.

 They are using machine-learning technology in order to data mine the medical histories of diabetics and recommend insulin dosages.

 The technology can recommend the best insulin dosage to keep each individual patient’s blood glucose levels under control with unprecedented stability and safety.

 This will, thereby, allow for a better and more accurate treatment.

 Coming from the success of this project, the expertise of the University’s Mechanical Engineer and his research team is called to apply the same artificial intelligence to aviation turbine engines and their related systems.

 With the use of the breakthrough AI technology, the team was able to predict aviation engine component degradation, which allowed them to plan for services that will improve performance.

 It permits them to evolve the computational models of aviation engines as if they were organisms that the AI can explicitly explain, particularly with what it thinks is happening inside the engine.

 The University alumnus explained that the AI system learns by forcing mathematical models to evolve, which they do quite literally by using simulated chromosomes, to fit known information.

 To commercialize the engine work, a spin-off company was formed. The company graduated from the University’s start-up program that supports the early stages of start-up development.

 The Germinate program belongs to the University’s Ventures suite of entrepreneurial initiatives.

 This project, moreover, has allowed a PhD student as well as Engineering students to gain experience from a multi-disciplinary project with the industry.

 The team has already submitted the AI breakthrough to a competition and has already knocked out more than 600 teams from around the globe.

 This competition will be culminating with three finalists that are participating in the grand prize competition wherein the prize pool is a whopping $ 7.1 million.

Why outer space could revolutionize travel


Starship rocket is designed to exit and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, with a passenger pod traveling to its final destination at maximum speeds of 27,000 km per hour.

Ultra-fast spacecraft could one day soon see passengers travelling between Dubai and London in just 29 minutes, according to a new report from UBS.

 The UBS report said high-speed travel through outer space will represent an approximately $20 million market in ten years and will compete with long-haul airlines, which would be considerably slower alternatives.

 “While space tourism is still at a nascent phase, we think that as technology becomes proven, and the cost falls due to technology and competition, space tourism will become more mainstream,” said UBS analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton. “Space tourism could be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on earth serviced by space.”


 As an example of the possibilities, UBS pointed to Elon Musk’s California-based SpaceX, which has said that its ‘Starship’ rocket will eventually be able to transport 100 people around the world in minutes.

 The Starship rocket is designed to exit and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, with a passenger pod traveling to its final destination at maximum speeds of 27,000 km per hour.

 According to SpaceX estimates, this speed means that a trip between Dubai and London could be accomplished in 29 minutes. Currently, a conventional flight between the two locations takes 8 hours.

 The company says that the flights – which would encounter no wind resistance – would be able to cut virtually every trip possible on earth to under an hour, with most flights taking less than half an hour. New York to Shanghai, for example, would take 39 minutes, as opposed to the current 15 hours.

 In its report, UBS estimated that approximately 150 million people travel on flights of over 10 hours, with 527,000 routes averaging 309 seats each.

 “If we assume that 5 percent of these flights in the future are serviced by space at $2,500 per trip, the revenue opportunity as of today would be more than $20 billion per year as of today…there is a large market,” the report said.

 UBS noted that although Starship’s rockets will be unlikely to transport more than 100 people for the foreseeable future, increasingly frequent rocket flights will be able to eventually transport the same volume of passengers.

 “Given the length of long-haul commercial travel and the rules around crewing and take-off and landing time slot restrictions at airports, we think a re-usable rocket…would have materially better utilisation rates than a commercial plane,” UBS added.

 The UBS report estimated that the wider space industry will be worth $805 billion by 2030, compared to $5400 billion today.




New pan-Arab satellite named after Al Mamun’s reign


Recently, a first pan-Arab space group was formed in Abu Dhabi.

 Its first project, a satellite that will monitor climate change, was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said it would be named 813, a reference to the year that marked the beginning of prosperity for the House of Wisdom in Baghdad during Al Mamun’s reign.

 He said the year was a symbol of Arab and Islamic excellence in science and astronomy – but what exactly happened that year?

 Abu Al Abbas Al MamunibnHarun Al Rashid was simply known as Al Mamun. He was the seventh caliph of the Abbasid Empire, succeeding to the title aged 27.

 It was the year 813 and Baghdad was the at the heart of the Abbasid empire, a dynasty descended from Prophet Mohammed’s uncle, not just politically and militarily but also intellectually.

 The caliph ruled over a vast area of territory than extended from Persia to present-day Tunisia. It included the Arabian Peninsula, all of the Levant, along with Egypt, and the island of Crete.

 This was the dawn of the golden age of Islam, an explosion of science, culture and learning that would last 600 centuries and draw knowledge from all over the world.

 There were no challengers. Europe, in those years, was struggling out of the dark ages, its most powerful ruler, the Frankish king Charles, also known as Charlemagne, on his deathbed.

 Baghdad was at the heart of the empire and there, Al Mamun’s father, Harun, the fifth caliph, had created a large private library that became known as Khizanat Al Hikma, or the Library of Wisdom.

 Harun died in 809. His son, Al Amin, whose reign as caliph lasted less than four years, succeeded him. His early death was the result of war fought with his half-brother Al Mamun. The two siblings had never liked each other, resulting in a civil war and Al Amin’s execution on the battlefield.

 Conflict gave way to peace. Almost his first act as caliph was an order from Al Mamun to expand the Library of Wisdom that was close to overflowing.

 The new institution drew scholars from across the Islamic world, meeting under one roof to debate and discuss. Many produced their own notable works. Among them was the brilliant Persian mathematician, Muhammad Al Khwarizmi, whose great work Kitab Al Jaber gives us the word algebra.

 Al Khwarizmi was also responsible for importing the Hindu system of numbers, first to the Arab world and then into Europe.

 Al Mamun also reached out to the Christian world to expand the House of Wisdom. He acquired the entire book collection of the king of Sicily and asked permission from the Byzantine emperor to translate notable scientific works in his library.

 Another collection of hand-written manuscripts was said to require 100 camels to transport it to Baghdad.

 Now its memory will live again, as the 813 satellite project, whose members include many modern countries that once formed the Abbasid empire, monitors those lands and provides valuable scientific information on the environment and climate. In spirit, as well as name, it reflects the House of Wisdom.

UAE, Virgin Galactic sign agreement for space tourism flights

 The UAE Space Agency and Virgin Galactic have signed an agreement to open up the possibility of space tourism flights.

Under the agreement, the parties intend to plan for a SpaceShipTwo and carrier aircraft vehicle pair that would be operated from the UAE, collaborate to develop a ‘center of excellence’ for microgravity research in the UAE and develop spaceship operational plans for UAE’s Al Ain airport.

 The space vehicle will be used by customers in the UAE and the region as a science platform for high-frequency space research, as well as private individuals to experience space.

 Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, and George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company (TSC), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that outlines cooperation across a range of areas.

 These include plans to bring Virgin Galactic spaceflights to the UAE for education, science and technology research, as well as potential space tourism flights in the future.

 The agreement, coming shortly after Virgin Galactic’s historic commercial space flights in December 2018 and February 2019, marks an important step as the company progresses toward commercial operations, state news agency WAM reported on Monday.

 It added that the UAE is well positioned to cater to such an important potential activity following significant advances in the UAE space regulatory and investment environment.

 The agreement also builds upon the longtime UAE investment in Virgin Galactic and TSC, held by Mubadala Investment Company.

 Ahbabi said, "This significant agreement builds on our longstanding relationship with the Virgin Group, with whom the Mubadala Investment Company jointly owns Virgin Galactic. It also reflects the advanced stage of the UAE’s space sector and our rapidly developing capabilities which, together with our partners at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, can enable the UAE to contribute to the manufacturing of space vehicles and commence spaceport operations within the next few years."


Intelak promotes women's participation in travel industry


Intelak, the UAE's aviation, travel, and tourism-focused incubator, held an ideation workshop and mentoring session to dive into the history of, and activate the participation of GCC women in the region's travel industry. This was the first time Intelak hosted an ideation workshop that targeted the growth of GCC female-led businesses and ideas in the travel sector.

 Women and men from more than ten countries participated in the event, with dozens of ideas evolving from the interactive session. These ideas can later be submitted for consideration to participate in the sixth edition of the Intelak Incubator program. Intelak is led by the Emirates Group, GE and Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The three principal partners provide seed funding and expert support and training for young innovators to convert their aviation, travel and tourism-related ideas into tangible businesses.

 Stakeholders from across the startup ecosystem; female and male employees from all three entities; and students from various universities in the UAE took part. The ideation session was titled 'The Evolution of the GCC Female Traveller' and was aimed at opening a dialogue on the history and needs of GCC female travellers, as well as the start-up business opportunities that exist in the industry.

 Rehab Mansoor, New Ventures Manager at dnata, opened the session with a discussion around the research on the evolution of the GCC female traveler and what new business opportunities exist to support their growth. The talk was followed by a workshop and ideation session on new business opportunities that are focused on and/or led by GCC female travelers.

 One of the key findings to come out of the session was that over the last 10 years, there has been a dynamic shift in how GCC women travel. Their needs, as well as the opportunities that exist to make travel safer, more comfortable and inclusive, have evolved significantly. The findings also draw on the recent trend of women serving as the key decision makers for family holiday bookings, according to the Amadeus Consumer Travel Report 2018, which further states that women lead in the GCC nationals' group, with 63% serving as the sole decision makers.

 Further underlining the role of women in travel, the session highlighted the emerging trend of Gulf families displaying a greater tendency to travel in smaller groups rather than in multi-generational large family groups, which was traditionally their preferred travel pattern. The motivation for such travel is the desire to de-stress, relax and enjoy quality time with immediate family, as found in the 2018 European Travel Commission Report.

 The ideas proposed at the workshop took into consideration key travel trends from across the GCC. According to the 2018 European Travel Commission Report, over two-thirds of GCC nationals traveled to Europe with family members and another 7% traveled with family and friends. Nearly a fifth (19 percent) went to Europe with friends while 5 percent travelled alone.

 Founded in 2016, Intelak brings together entrepreneurs and students from across the UAE to participate in an aviation, travel and tourism-focused Incubator program. Meaning 'taking off' in Arabic, Intelak supports young entrepreneurs to become part of the innovative ecosystem in the UAE. Since 2016, Intelak has garnered over 1,000 applications; more than 80 teams have participated in the pre-incubation bootcamp; and twenty teams have received thousands of hours of mentoring from the Principal Partners and ecosystem leaders. -

Arab women striving to become part of the aviation industry

 As commercial aviation witnesses a boom across the world, more and more women are passionately striving to become a part of the industry.

Women in airspace have transitioned from being employed as flight attendants to premier cockpit controllers. Today, a fifth of students enrolling for a commercial flying license in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are women, which is way higher than other countries.

 Compared with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UAE has more women pilots, captains, aircraft engineers, mechanics, aircraft maintenance and air traffic controllers, among others.

 Emirates Airlines and Group currently employs nearly 27,000 women, making up 42 percent of the group’s workforce, including women pilots who includes the youngest Emirati female pilot operating the world’s biggest aircraft, A380. Over 60 of more than 4000 pilots employed by it are females.

 More than a third of the 3,770 employees at flydubai, Middle East’s fastest-growing LCC, are female with more than 1,000 female Cabin Crew members and more than 30 female Captains and First Officers. Etihad Airways currently employs over 2,850 Emirati women, including 50 female pilots and also the first Emirati woman registered as a specialist in aviation medicine.  Air Arabia’s women employees include the first female Emirati holder of a multi-crew pilots (MPL) license.

 The 4th Women in Aviation (WIA) Middle East General Assembly will be held in Dubai on 1 May alongside the 19th edition of Airport Show. The event will focus on the growing contribution of women in aviation globally and share best practices from around the world for over 400 attendees expected at the Dubai event.

 Key sessions will focus on initiatives that can help women succeed in the aviation workplace and help organizations meet ICAO’s gender parity goals, the influence of social media in the changing workplace and work-life balance issues with respect to female employment, as well as a systematic guide on how to enhance gender equality in the aviation workplace. The conference will also look at the role women are playing in the development of the region’s ambitious space programs, especially in the United Arab Emirates.

 Mervat Sultan, one of the first Arab women to obtain a flight dispatcher’s license and a Co-Founder and President of the Middle East chapter of Women in Aviation (WIA) International, said, “Just over five percent of the commercial pilots flying worldwide are females. The Middle East’s share has not been encouraging, but things are changing. Being a woman in the aviation industry shouldn’t be about gender, but only about hard work and ability.  The barriers are disappearing as women have been successfully destroying the stereotypes.”

 “Today, we can see an increasing number of women in aviation and aerospace, but still they are vastly under-represented. The opportunities are greater now than the past.  Without any doubts, women in the coming time would be scripting a different success story altogether. It’s somewhat a slow and steady process. Debates will help us in taking crucial decisions towards this end,” said Merwat who will also be addressing the WIA General Assembly.

 Women account for 12.4 percent of India’s pilots, with 1,092 of the total 8,797 pilots in schedule domestic airlines being women.  India has among the highest ratio of female pilots working for schedule airlines globally. Though the number might seem small, it is significantly higher than the global average of 5.4 percent and surpasses the countries like France, Japan and the US at 7.6, 5.6 and 5.1 percent, respectively.

 Estimates from the International Society of Women Airline Pilots show there are 7,409 women pilots across the world accounting for 5.2 per cent of total pilot workforce. Women make up about five per cent of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the world’s largest pilot union. It estimates that between three and six per cent of pilots at the world’s largest commercial airlines are women. Representation of women on the ICAO Council is seven out of 36 members. The organisation is committed to a 50-50-gender parity by 2030. According data by the ICAO, only 5.18 percent of pilots are female.

Electric airplanes to take to UAE skies this year


The Academy of Technical Training (ATT) has just confirmed that private individuals, as young as 14 years old, can start securing a license to fly an electric-powered plane in October.

 However, the permit will be issued only after flight training or course is completed at the Flight Club in Ghantoot, officials at the ATT told state news agency WAM.

 During the training, students will be able to operate an eco-friendly flying machine called Alpha Electro. The Dh400, 000 plane has an airframe made in Slovenia but it is assembled in the UAE.

 It can fly over 13,000 feet for an hour and 30 minutes, and reach a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, using two lithium batteries.

 “The aircraft, including the batteries and engines, is entirely assembled in the UAE by Emirati hands,” said LahejSaif Al Falasi, chairman of ATT.

 Al Falasi said the aircraft is “completely safe,” citing that it is already licensed internationally. It has undergone flight tests in the UAE, United States and Germany.

 “The aircraft is completely safe, with zero [carbon dioxide] emissions and minimum noise,” he said. “It is really a source of pride to see creative Emiratis contributing to the service of humanity by bringing what was once perceived as science fiction into reality,” he added.

 “It is really a source of pride to see creative Emiratis contributing to the service of humanity by bringing what was once perceived as science fiction into reality,” he added.

 One of the batteries used in the aircraft is capable of providing additional power for 30 minutes, which can be used in case of emergency.

Events Calendar

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun