VD Gulf will look to add capacity at its UAE facility at Sharjah Airport in the midst of growing regional demand.
Mikhail Khoroshaev, director general of the MRO, says high demand in the surrounding region for its services, along with an increase in passenger numbers, will probably make it necessary for the company to add new capacity.
“We’ll reach capacity and there will be a need for another hangar in close proximity over the next two years,” he says. “Expansion opportunities are being reviewed and we are looking to discuss a new facility close to our hangar with the local government and the airport."
The current 22,000-square meter hangar built in 2013 can accommodate two Boeing 747-400s and six narrowbody aircraft (Airbus A320 or Boeing 737) at one time. Capabilities include line maintenance, base maintenance, component services and cabin work.
With Boeing having gradually wound down the 747 production program and with some carriers signalling their intentions to retire the aircraft from their fleets, Khoroshaev nevertheless remains optimistic about the repair opportunities around the 747.
“We see the 747 aftermarket as a long-term business for us,” he says. “Production is slowing even on the newer 747-8, however, there are still a lot of aircraft in operation that need MRO support.”
Khoroshaev says being located in the Middle East is advantageous to VD Gulf’s work with widebody operators, with the likes of Saudia still operating seven 747-400s along with 10 cargo variants of the aircraft.
However, he also says work with Russian customers is also picking up, with potential for cabin work. “The region is growing fast and with aircraft such as the 777 and the 747 operating there, the possibility of interior work opens up.”
The independent MRO has operated since 1996, starting out specializing in Russian-built aircraft before exclusively focusing on Western-made aircraft in 2013.