Stock Boeing aircraft
Airlines' operating models could change, with point-to-point emerging as a preferred option as opposed to tried and tested hub-and-spoke ways. If so, it will result in changes for the types of aircraft needed. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Whatever be the short-term worries set off by COVID-19, the fundamentals of the aerospace industry are “very strong” for the next 20 to 25 years, according to the CEO of Abu Dhabi's Mubadala-owned Strata Manufacturing.

“We are expecting anywhere between 30,000 to 40,000 aircraft to be sold - this is driven by the fact that we have more people moving from low-income segments to mid-income,” said Ismail Abdulla at the Global Aerospace Summit, which is held virtually. “This means  OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) need to address the new demand."

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Strata manufactures aircraft parts and components and counts Boeing and Airbus as its customers. Abdullah also touched upon an important talking point in the global aviation industry right now: stick with hub-and-spoke model or go point-to-point?

Need for a shift

The momentum is favoring the latter, according to Strata’s chief. This is because China and Russia are developing single-aisle passenger jets, challenging the dominance of jumbo aircraft that were designed to shuttle large numbers of passengers between global hubs. “My belief is that the jury is still out - there is no reason why both models for airlines cannot coexist,” said Abdulla.

Electric journey

Abdulla believes an electric aircraft could be a possibility in the near future. However, “we will not be seeing something that is used widely for intercontinental and even regional flights. We could see some niche, addressable markets for such an aircraft.”

Several companies have been experimenting with the technology. Last week, Rolls-Royce said it was ground-testing the technology that will power the fastest all-electric plane. It has been tested on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core, called an ‘ionBird’, and includes a 500hp electric powertrain and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes.

It's take-off time
AMMROC, which specialises in military maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, has made delivery of the first C-130 aircraft from its new depot in Al Ain.
The aircraft underwent a 'programmed depot maintenance' to increase its capability by extending the lifecycle. This is the first of many PDMs scheduled to take place at this facility.
The AMMROC facility can support more than 35 different aircraft types, both fixed and rotary wing, and spans 36,500 square metre. It is also the only certified Lockheed Martin Service Center for C-130 aircraft in the region.
It was in March that AMMROC inducted a CN235 and an A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, marking the launch of the one square kilometre operations facility.
- Staff Report