DUBAI–An aging widebody fleet and a need for refreshing them is partly responsible for why the Middle East’s maintenance and engineering growth will be higher than the global average.
Boeing’s Services Market Outlook forecasts maintenance and engineering will comprise 4% of the $8.8 trillion commercial aviation services market over the next 20 years, compared to a 4.8% allotment for Middle East services specifically, says Debra Santos, chief marketing officer, commercial services, for Boeing Global Services.
For the Middle East, Boeing projects a need for 2,990 new aircraft worth $660 billion over the next 20 years to support fleet renewal and growth, bringing the fleet to 3,890 aircraft. The company forecasts that fleet will generate a services market—including ground and cargo operations, maintenance and engineering, flight operations, marketing and planning, and corporate functions—of $745 billion by 2037. The MRO piece of that is $240 billion, or 4.8%, says Santos.
She points out that widebody aircraft dominate today’s Middle East fleet, at 52%, but that figure will drop to 47% by 2037 due to the growth of low-cost carriers in the region. In tandem, that means the single-aisle fleet should increase from 45% to 52% over the next 20 years.
The large Boeing 777 fleet could provide an opportunity for a converted freighter, which Santos says the company is studying. “We’re getting a lot of pressure” to offer a converted freighter but the company is still talking to customers to understand their requirements, so she could not comment on a potential launch timeline.
In 2018, Boeing produced 83 new production 747, 777 and 767 freighters and 43 converted 767-300 and 737-800s.
In addition to Boeing’s Aviall and Jeppesen facility in Dubai, it has partnerships with Alsalam Aerospace Industries, Emirates Flight Training Academy and Saudi Rotorcraft Support in the Middle East region.
Santos says the Emirates Flight Training is evaluating new digital tools, such as virtual reality, to make the classroom process more efficient.