DUBAI--Etihad Airways Engineering plans to complete its first Airbus A350 C check and paint job inhouse in early March. The A350 exterior painting also will be the first paint job completed other than those done by Airbus, says Frederic Dupont, VP technical sales and customer service. He says Etihad painted the first Boeing 787 outside Boeing, as well.
The A350, operated by Latam Airlines, will be the second A350 that Etihad has maintained—the first was completed jointly with Tarmac Aerosave in January at the latter’s facility in Tarbes, France.
Etihad was still working on its Part 145 maintenance regulatory approval so it collaborated with Tarmac for that first Latam A350 check.
The A350 MRO follows a memorandum of understanding signed between Etihad Airways Engineering and Tarmac Aerosave late last year to explore joint maintenance service opportunities. While the A350 drove the collaboration deal, Dupont says the A380 also provides some potential cooperation.
Tarmac Aerosave, which specializes in maintenance, storage and dismantling, stored its first A380, formerly operated by Singapore Airlines, in November 2017 and has stored several since at its facilities in Tarbes and Teruel, Spain. Tarmac is owned by Airbus, Safran Group and Suez.
Dupont says 2018 as a very good year for the airline’s technical division, “one of its best,” and that its hangars are full.
Etihad Airways Engineering, which is a member of Airbus’ MRO network, is also close to signing a fleet care agreement with Boeing, says Dupont.
In addition to airframe MRO, expect Etihad to expand its component maintenance capabilities. In 2018, it signed a 15-year strategic agreement with Moog to cooperate on component repair. Dupont says one of the airline engineering company’s primary focuses in 2019 will be to expand component repair.
In that vein, he says Etihad Airways Engineering signed a memorandum of understanding with another component OEM today (Feb. 11) at MRO Middle East, although no other details are available.