Airline Insight flydubai_0.jpg

Airline Insight: flydubai

In the first of a regular look at MRO from an airline perspective, Mike Ainsworth, senior manager of maintenance at flydubai, talks about the Middle Eastern low-cost carrier’s maintenance

What were some of the MRO trends you’ve seen throughout the past year?

There are two main trends we’ve noticed. The first is that there are more MRO firms in the Middle East and Eastern Europe increasing their capability to cover the next-generation of 737-800 aircraft. Secondly, we’re experiencing to see a steady growth in the number of MROs represented in the Middle Eastern region, which is something that we welcome.

What is the biggest challenge facing flydubai from a maintenance perspective at the moment? 

With the growth of our fleet and expanding network, one of our biggest challenges is recruiting suitably qualified and experienced staff. We do believe however, that with our growing fleet and our hub in Dubai International Airport, we remain an attractive employer for maintenance professionals.

How is the company proactively meeting that challenge?

With our proactive preventative maintenance initiatives in place and our maintenance interval optimisation, we remain confident that we can meet the challenges and demands ahead.

How will these changes affect your MRO needs?

Such changes give us the potential to reduce the number of scheduled maintenance hangar inputs and enable us to have a tight control over our material stock levels.  This in turn will require rigidly adhered to turn around times from our MRO.

What are the key elements of flydubai’s fleet maintenance strategy?

The key elements of flydubai’s maintenance strategy are the maximum use of downtime, along with the effective communication and cooperation between our OEM’s and MRO’s and the respective flydubai teams they deal with.

What do you foresee as the next big challenge for flydubai’s MRO teams?

We are preparing for the arrival of our latest aircraft order. At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, flydubai committed to ordering 75 737 MAX 8s and 11 Next-Generation B737-800s. In addition, the airline retains purchase rights for 25 more 737 MAXs. The first aircraft from this order, 11 Next-Generation 737-800s, will be delivered between 2016 and 2017. Deliveries of the first 737 MAX will commence in the second half of 2017 and continue until the end of 2023.

What technologies will make the biggest impact on MRO in the future?
There are a variety of technologies that have the potential to have the biggest impact on MRO. The increased use of composite materials for example, can make a huge difference, while the use of electronic documentation and radio frequency identification (RFID) on components, equipment and tooling can also help. The increased use of tablet computers by maintenance staff would be a welcome addition for the industry, along with making full use of an effective MRO software system.

What does flydubai look for in an MRO partner – be it a supplier, logistics firm or an MRO?

One of the main things we look for in an MRO partner is their ability to deliver an on time, on budget, quality product with honesty and integrity. This is crucial to our business, along with the ability to learn from the past experiences and plan for the future. When these items are kept in mind, a solid working partnership can be formed between airline and MRO.

Mike Ainsworth will be speaking at Airline Engineering and Maintenance: Middle East, which takes place in Abu Dhabi from April 28-29. For more information, please visit:

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