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Home and away, TS&S builds links to the future

Posted 16 January 2019 · Add Comment

Abu Dhabi’s TS&S Aerospace is spreading its wings with fresh maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) contracts beyond its home territory. Acting CEO, Mansoor Janahi, talks to Chuck Grieve about what’s driving this expansion.

Technology is proving a game-changer for TS&S Aerospace – but not the kind of technology normally associated with MRO activities.
Alongside investments in advanced equipment, such as its 100,000lb thrust test cell, TS&S is “ahead of the game” in adopting cutting-edge enabling technology that acting chief executive, Mansoor Janahi, believes gives the Abu Dhabi-based business an edge.
If proof were needed, it came in the form of a clutch of contracts TS&S announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in July.
The company used the UK show to announce engine maintenance contracts with three international airlines – Atlasglobal of Turkey, Yemen Airways, and Asiana, one of South Korea’s two major airlines – for the V2500 engines that power their Airbus A320 fleets.
In July, it also announced partnership agreements with Ethiopian Airlines and IndiGo, the Indian low-cost carrier based in Haryana state, near Delhi.
TS&S said these “breakthrough” agreements highlight the MRO’s strategy of partnering with rapidly growing carriers wherever they are based – which in this case is south-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
It also underscores the success of a strategy of investing in state-of-the-art technology that has been a feature of TS&S since Janahi joined the MRO in 2017 from his previous role as vice-president of Mubadala’s aerospace, renewables and ICT platform.
The aerospace industry is fast-moving in its embrace of new technology, said Janahi, noting that a key objective of his move to TS&S was to ensure it was positioned to make full use of any opportunities unlocked by technological developments.
“A lot of people – original equipment manufacturers, MROs, airlines – talk about adopting the latest technology,” he said. “We’re very serious about it.
“What we’ve done is establish a technology team. This isn’t typical in MRO. We see technology as an enabler of growth. It enables us to increase our market share.
“With technology, we’re working to improve turnaround times, increase efficiencies, and enhance our service levels to customers.”
He cited two recent deals with technology providers Honeywell and Atlas Copco as examples of this strategy in action. TS&S remains the only MRO in the Middle East to have adopted integrated voice recognition with Honeywell’s maintenance and inspection (M&I) voice system, which supports a ‘hands-free, eyes-free’ workshop environment.
It is also the only MRO outside the US and Europe to implement Atlas Copco’s smart connected assembly technology, which links all assembly-related processes in a single operational network to support productivity, safety and data traceability.
The Honeywell and Atlas Copco technologies are in use now, said Janahi, adding: “There are more in line to be adopted.
“As we grow our operations to new markets, implementing advanced technologies that enable process optimisation are critical in ensuring that we meet our growing demand to the highest compliance standards.”
Janahi credited the technological improvements put in at TS&S as a major part of the reason why it has been able to win contracts with top-tier airlines such as Asiana. “No airline wants to put its reputation on the line,” he said, so it was essential that new customers were comfortable with the MRO’s accreditations, capacity and quality systems.
“We’re competitive on a global scale,” he said, “with capacity and capabilities in line with any other shop in the world that does V2500 engine maintenance.
“Although TS&S is a business based in Abu Dhabi, someone out in Korea knows our capabilities.”
It’s no mistake that the new partnerships announced at Farnborough take TS&S well out of its home territory. This developing global footprint simply underscores the company’s focus on strategic, emerging and promising aviation markets. “In line with our long-term growth strategy, TS&S is pursuing opportunities that will expand its presence across several continents,’ said Janahi.
The Americas are among regions on TS&S’ radar. ‘We’re working very closely on the Americas,” said Janahi. “Hopefully, something will materialise out of there.
“We’re very active in south-east Asia,” he added. “The contract with Asiana is a testament to the work we’ve done there.
“These are markets where we continue to spend time, effort and financial resource to make sure we cement our place in those parts of the world.”
The investment in marketing appears to be paying off. The company has seen business triple in the last four years, during which time it has serviced more than 300 engines.
Janahi admits there’s a “fine balance” to be maintained between winning the business and being able to deliver results. “We’ve taken this as a challenge,” he said. “We’ve been able to manage this balance extremely well, thanks to the capabilities and team we have.
“I’m very proud of what our team has been able to deliver this year, and in previous years as well, keeping a focus on making sure we deliver engines to global standard.”
TS&S operates from modern and well-equipped premises at Abu Dhabi Airport and employs nearly 300 specialists of 30 different nationalities. It is developing a pipeline of qualified technicians drawn from the emirate’s own population through its innovative two-year training programme, ‘Fani Wa Aftekher’, run in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Polytechnic.
Earlier this year, TS&S achieved another breakthrough with its first major contract covering multiple engine types with a top leasing company.
The deal, with Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), will enable TS&S to service several engine types in DAE’s extensive portfolio, including the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, General Electric GEnx, and the International Aero Engines (IAE) workhorse, the V2500.
Janahi said this partnership was “only the beginning” and demonstrated that “our country is realising its potential in being an advanced, competitive and impactful aerospace hub”, building on the MRO expertise it had developed over the last 30 years.
“Aerospace has been identified as a strategic sector in Abu Dhabi,” said Janahi. “We’re playing a role in that. We have top national UAE talent that is now part of our leadership team as well as our wider team. Making sure we have local talent is important to sustain, not just the business, but the industry as well.”
 

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