What was described as the Middle East’s largest MRO facility should be open for business by the end of 2016, Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) at the Dubai Air Show.
The huge facility—some 900,000 sq m in size—is already around 60% complete, on a site northeast of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.
It will include four narrowbody and four widebody hangars capable of conducting D checks, plus one paint hangar and another for widebody line maintenance.
An engine shop will be capable of handling General Electric GE90-size powerplants, and there will be 24 shops for aircraft component maintenance.
“It’s unfair to call it a launch, more like an unveiling,” SAEI managing director Nader Khalawi said.
Construction work has been ongoing for two years, but the project had not been widely publicized. “It was announced quietly before,” said SAEI’s director-technical sales and marketing Abdulmohsen Aynousah. “We didn’t want to talk about it until we could see it was happening.”
The infrastructure is now complete and the buildings are rapidly appearing.
The new facility will handle both civil and military work and will cost around SR3.5 billion ($930 million).
It is a major advance for SAEI, which currently has a two-bay hangar and several plants scattered around Jeddah. These will all be combined at the new site. “We have developed a lot of capability over the years,” Khalawi said. “Our problem was capacity.”
He added, “We believe there’s a lot of business in both the civil and military fields. The military in Saudi Arabia is, as you know, quite extensive and we believe there’s a big opportunity there. We’re working with major OEMs such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Electric to develop both civil and military capability.”
SAEI has SR5.3 billion ($1.4 billion) per year under contract and Saudia is its major customer; SAEI was previously the engineering arm of the Saudi national carrier, but was spun off a couple of years ago and privatized, with 30% of its shares now held privately.