Dubai Air Show

Goodrich opens MRO in Dubai Free Trade Zone

 - November 11, 2007, 7:11 PM

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Goodrich Corp. (Stand W436) opened its new maintenance and repair facility in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone (JAFZA) just over three weeks ago. This Wednesday during the Dubai Air Show, the aerospace systems and services supplier will host an opening ceremony for customers, senior executives and other guests.

The 115,000-square-foot facility, representing a $25 million investment, has already begun providing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to customers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Covering a broad range of commercial and military aircraft, the services include engine nacelles and thrust reversers, landing gear, electronic engine controls, internal cargo drive units, cockpit surveillance cameras, sensors, hoists and winches, evacuation slides and life vests.

“Goodrich is saturated in North America and Europe, but not as strong elsewhere,” said Pandri Pandarinath, vice president, MRO EMEA for Goodrich Customer Services. “After looking at growth areas around the world, we identified three gaps in our coverage,” namely South America, western Asia and the Middle East. “We decided to address the Middle East first,” he said. “Air travel in this region has grown by an average of 12 percent over the last five years.”

The company opened a temporary MRO facility in a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in JAFZA in August 2006, and broke ground for its new facility in November.
Construction began in February this year and ended in October. “We moved from there to here in one day,” said Shane Tingey, director of sales and marketing, MRO EMEA for Goodrich Customer Services, during a tour of the new facility last Wednesday. “We had 43 employees in the old facility, have 50 now and expect to increase to more than 100 next year,” he said. Goodrich obtained a long-term lease from JAFZA for both the land and the building, built to Goodrich’s specifications and with room for expansion.

Though last week one could still detect the odor of fresh paint and materials in the new facility and most of its offices and work stations stood unoccupied, MRO work had started already.

In one area of the shiny, air-conditioned building, several components from at least one Russian and three Middle East airlines awaited inspection and repair, including common nozzle assemblies, inlet cowlings and firewalls. In another section, four inflated A380 escape slides/life rafts from one of the flight test airplanes sat ready for repacking. “The A380 has sixteen slides, which require inspection every three years, if not required before then,” Tingey said. “This area will hold all sixteen.” Goodrich manufactures the escape slides for the A380 and other airplanes.

Though seemingly situated in the middle of a vast, sandy wasteland with some high-rise buildings visible far off in the distance, the facility stands quite near the under-construction Al Maktoum International airport, planned to open in two years. The Goodrich facility does not have runway access, however, nor does it need it. Trucks can carry all the components and systems it services.

“No other OEM has an MRO facility in the area,” Tingey claimed. “We’re the first.” (OEMs do not own the other MROs in the region, such as Emirates’ facility in Dubai and Mubadala-owned Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, known formerly as GAMCO).

Goodrich earned gross sales of $5.9 billion last year and expects to see revenues exceed $6.6 billion this year.  It expects 45 percent of its revenue to come from aftermarket sales. The company employs 23,000 people and has more than 90 facilities in 19 countries.