Subscribe Free
in Air Transport / Features

Diplomatic breakthrough paves way for Etihad-Israeli MRO deal

Posted 12 April 2021 · Add Comment

Etihadís expanding engineering division could notch up a new customer in Israeli carrier El Al?

New possibilities: Etihad Engineering’s Abu Dhabi maintenance facility could be handling El Al aircraft if a deal between the two airlines goes ahead. Picture: Etihad Engineering.

Etihad Airways Group and El Al are in discussions over the Abu Dhabi-based airline taking on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) duties for the Israeli carrier. Alan Dron looks at the possibilities.

The move follows last autumn’s sudden breakthrough in restoring diplomatic relations between Israel, on the one hand, and the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan on the other.

Etihad is scheduled to start daily flights to Tel Aviv in March 2021, although the Israeli carrier has not, as yet, announced services to the UAE’s federal capital.

El Al and Emirates Airline will start flights between Dubai and Israel’s main commercial hub.

As part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in November, both carriers said that their engineering divisions would begin talks about greater cooperation. These discussions will include optimising MRO opportunities.

The MoU also promised cooperation on code-sharing, reciprocal opportunities for members of their respective frequent flyer schemes, plus ways to increase volumes of freighter traffic flowing into and out of Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, and across the carriers’ combined networks.

Cooperation in training for flightdeck and cabin crews is also being discussed.

Talks on the engineering part of the MoU were still at the exploratory stage at the time of writing, but all aspects of maintenance were being explored.

“Staff are looking at how and what they can do together,” said El Al’s acting director of international affairs, Stanley Morais. “What the issue is, how we can work together in partnership and from a logistics point of view. We can do things for them, perhaps, in a more efficient way, or vice versa.”

No timescale for any deal had been agreed, he added.

El Al has said it does not intend to establish its own line maintenance stations in the UAE. “Our approach will be to see who is there and who can provide services for us,” said an El Al spokesman.

Any cooperation on the maintenance front will be made easier by the fact that the two airlines operate the same type of equipment.

Etihad’s fleet contains Boeing 787-9s and -10s, plus the 777-300ER, while El Al flies the 787-8 and -9 and the smaller version of the 777, the -200ER.

With each airline having the appropriate stocks of parts for the different aircraft types, that gives possibilities for the two companies being able to coordinate maintenance activities – perhaps, for example, if one company finds itself with a lack of capacity due to unforeseen demand in its maintenance workshops.

Costs, inevitably, will play a part. It may be that one company can undertake certain types of work more cost-effectively than the other.

• Meanwhile, Etihad Aviation Training (EAT) is to provide full-flight simulator (FFS) training for Israir Airlines’ Airbus A320 pilots. Israir will dry-lease EAT’s FFSs in Abu Dhabi, with the training being conducted by Israir instructors.

Israir CEO, Uri Sirkis, said that a meeting with Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas, and EAT managing director, Captain Paolo La Cava, “revealed to me a rare opportunity to use the EAT simulator facility, just a three-hour flight away from Israel.

“Beyond the economic and professional benefits, I believe that the more meeting points we find between the countries, the stronger the tourism movement will be. This is the true peace.”


Other Stories
Latest News

Airbus reports half-year 2021 results

Airbus has reported consolidated financial results for the half-year (H1) ended 30 June 2021.

TRAINING: Virtual Reality Trials looking to transform future Fast Jet Training

Ascent Flight Training, in collaboration with the MOD (itís UK Military Flying Training System customer), is currently undertaking virtual reality trials at RAF Valley as part of the on-going development of innovative solutions for

Middle East cargo carriers see international volumes rise in June

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air cargo markets for June showing a 9.9% improvement on pre-COVID-19 performance (June 2019).

Qatar Airways engages with IATA on Environmental Sustainability Training

Qatar Airways has selected the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Environmental Sustainability in Aviation Program offered in partnership between the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the University of Geneva.

Gulf Air reward a number of its front line staff

Gulf Air has rewarded a number of its front line staff in appreciation for their outstanding and exceptional services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TRAINING: India Gets Two AL-55I Engines for Combat Trainers

Indiaís home-made HJT-36 combat trainer aircraft inched closer towards final stage of certification tests after it received the AL-55I turbojet engines from Russia.

WDS SK2601090322
See us at
World Defence Show 2022DAS21_BTAviation MENA 2022Aviation Africa 2021 BTOC