Air France Industries plans Abu Dhabi hub

Air France Industries is to open a logistics centre in Abu Dhabi to handle components for Boeing 777s and Airbus A330/40s.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  December 1, 2005

Air France Industries is to open a logistics centre in Abu Dhabi to handle components for Boeing 777s and Airbus A330/40s. The facility will help the French MRO improve its service levels for customers in the region by enabling it to hold US $10 million’s worth of parts locally. The centre will also offer fast shop services, which will cut turnaround times for repairs. Within the Gulf, Air France Industries supports more than 30 777s and 10 A330/40s under long-term component agreements. Its A330/40 customers are Royal Jordanian and Yemenia, while its 777 customers include Saudia, which signed a flight hour deal over the summer, and Kuwait Airways. The French MRO is also helping Etihad with the introduction of its five 777s next year. This was one of the main reasons why it chose to locate the logistics centre in the UAE capital. “Within Abu Dhabi, we already have a growing activity through supporting Etihad’s 777s, but this [centre] goes far beyond Etihad,” said Alain Bassil, president of Air France Industries. “We really need to strengthen our network, our support and logistics for the different operators in the area, as they are asking us for that.” Other advantages of Abu Dhabi include a direct cargo link with Paris Charles De Gaulle airport, where Air France has its main logistics centre, and a strong local road network. “From Abu Dhabi, we can very easily reach Dubai and other big cities in the region,” noted Bassil. The centre will be fully up and running in January, but Air France has already located inventory worth $3 million in Abu Dhabi. It also holds stock at sites in Jordan and Yemen to support its customers in these countries. The Abu Dhabi facility will provide a back-up for these stocks, cutting the time that would be needed to fly in parts from Paris. The centre will also slash turnaround times for repairs, as there will no longer be any requirement to transport components to workshops in Europe. “We can imagine some local repair opportunities in terms of fast shop repairs, which would reduce turnaround times and improve availability, particularly for those components that have a short turnaround turn,” noted Bassil. Air France also sees the possibility of holding components for other aircraft types in Abu Dhabi as well. Bassil suggested the A320 as a strong candidate, as a number of carriers are now operating the type in the region. The centre could also be used to hold A380 parts, although this will be a decision for the management of Spairliners, the Air France Industries/Lufthansa Technik joint venture. “This logistics centre would certainly be a candidate for Spairliners, but they will decide,” said Bassil.

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