Subscribe Free
in Maintenance / Features

When innovation comes with a price tag

Posted 1 February 2021 · Add Comment

Customer benefit underpins the uptake of innovation in MRO, where OEM and regulatory approvals compete with cost as the biggest hurdle to overcome. Chuck Grieve reports.

Frederic Dupont: “We’re always looking at how we can reinvent ourselves from an efficiency and operational perspective.” Picture: Etihad Group

Adaptability is the key to success as an MRO, says Frederic Dupont, Etihad Engineering’s vice-president technical sales and customer service.

“We’re always looking at how we can reinvent ourselves from an efficiency and operational perspective – how we can loop into MRO innovations that can deliver benefits to our customers.”

Companies need to be able to see beyond today’s ‘buzzwords’ to the customer benefits now, and in five or 10 years. A customer doesn’t ask if additive manufacturing (AM), for example, will produce a part that’s 10g lighter or with lower CO2 emissions; they want to know the cost.

Etihad Engineering has broken new ground with AM since first receiving European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval. Its AM lab in Abu Dhabi produces cabin parts from polymers – items such as arm rests and arm caps. Dupont says the system “works well”.

Drone technology is rapidly advancing but is not yet mature enough to provide sufficient returns for Etihad Engineering to implement ‘as is’ in a heavy maintenance environment.

A critical success factor is to link the entire ecosystem: from measuring the cracks/defects to the regulatory/OEM approval of the analysis of such data – still a work in progress. At that point, he said, “You will be talking about bringing real benefits to the customer.”

Etihad Engineering set up an innovation steering committee and roadmap to look at technologies “through our customers’ eyes” and structure the activity surrounding assessment. “We have a business to run,” said Dupont. “We don’t have 20 people standing by to explore every new thing that comes along.”

Technology and innovation is never cheap; its adoption and, ultimately, its success, depends on feasibility assessment, proof of concept, trials and development.

“We can’t go and buy [technology] off the shelf,” said Dupont. “We need to customise it, adapt it to our business in order to maximise the returns to our customers.”

The overriding question is always: “When will a technology bring enough benefits to effectively outweigh all the implementation costs and disruption to operations?

“At end of the day, we’re just MROs, we’re not OEMs.”


Other Stories
Latest News

P7 Aviation adds Boeing B747 Full Flight Simulator

The wide-body aircraft simulator will expand P7 Aviation’s training offering from the current Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 Classic training capability and seeks to support Boeing 747 operators throughout the Middle East, Asia and

Etihad Airways introduces ‘Verified to Fly’ travel document initiative

From 12 May 2021, travellers flying from Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways will be able to validate their Covid-19 travel documents before arriving at the airport.

Emirates to showcase Premium Economy Seats for the first time at ATM

Emirates will be showcasing its Premium Economy seats for the first time at Arabian Travel Market 2021 (ATM).

Gulf Air offers complimentary COVID-19 travel insurance coverage

Gulf Air will offer complimentary COVID-19 travel insurance coverage to all ticket holders which will include health and quarantine expenses in the unexpected circumstances of being diagnosed with or contracting COVID-19 during

Qatar Airways to participate in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

Qatar Airways will be one of the leading international companies attending the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, from 2-5 June.

Airbus resumes work on modernisation of its A320 Family

Airbus has resumed work on the modernisation of its A320 Family industrial capabilities in Toulouse.

WDS SK2601090322
See us at
Aviation Africa 2021 BTOCWorld Defence Show 2022DAS21_BTF.OPEX21 BT270521Aviation MENA 2022