| With almost all of its passenger aircraft fleet grounded at Abu Dhabi international Airport due to the coronavirus pandemic, Etihad Airways has just embarked on an ambitious maintenance program, the most important since the start of its activities 16 years ago.
Its MRO division, Etihad Engineering, is currently carrying out maintenance work on 96 passenger transport aircraft, including 29 single-aisle Airbus A320/A321s, 10 Airbus A380s, 38 Boeing 787s and 19 Boeing 777-300ERs.
More than line maintenance works to protect its aircraft on the ground, in particular in a sandy environment, Etihad takes advantage of the immobilization to clean, refresh, maintain and if necessary improve their cabins before resuming the flight program. Thus, in addition to seat repairs and traditional updates to the in-flight entertainment systems (IFE), nearly 19,000 seat covers have already gone into laundry and more than 40 rolls of new carpet as well as 367 meters of leather for its First and Business seats were used to rejuvenate its interiors.
In addition, approximately 5,000 aircraft touch points have been checked and more than 4,000 parts were manufactured through the engineering workshop.
But Etihad Engineering also takes advantage of the immobilization of 80% of the group's fleet to carry out heavier maintenance works, for example by accelerating scheduled engine changes for overhauls on several of its aircraft, eliminating the need to withdraw them from service during the recovery.
It could also be the same for airfraime maintenance operations.
"We are working closely with the fleet management team to see if we can advance certain scheduled checks for the 777, 787 and A380 fleet" said Haytham Nasir, vice president Airframe Services at Etihad Engineering, in a video published by the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad Airways suspended all of its passenger flights on March 25, accompanying the UAE's decision to close its borders. The airline has since started a slight recovery to operate a few scheduled and repatriation flights using 22 of its Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, in addition to its five 777Fs.
As a reminder, Etihad Engineering results from the activity of the old GAMCO and ADAT (excluding MRO engines). Etihad's MRO division is today one of the most important players in commercial aircraft maintenance in the Middle East, having worked on a total of 356 aircraft last year (196 Airbus and 160 Boeing), for more than 1,6 million hours of work deployed.