DUBAI: Gulf generates $1 billion in new business for AFI KLM E&M

The Middle East ranks alongside India and the wider Asia-Pacific region as a key area of growth for Air France-KLM's maintenance division, and has generated $1 billion of new business confirmed at the Dubai air show.

Four new deals have been disclosed by AFI KLM E&M at the event, which its executive vice-president Anne Brachet nonetheless describes as "rather quiet". The various support contracts cover the CFM International CFM56-5B engines powering 50 Air Arabia Airbus A320s, the General Electric GE90-115B engines of 10 Kuwait Airways Boeing 777-300ERs, the components of 21 Saudia 787s, and the Pratt & Whitney Canada APS5000 auxiliary power units installed on Gulf Air's 10 incoming 787-9s.

"The Middle East and Asia-Pacific are key to our growth," says AFI KLM E&M's senior vice-president of commercial Fabrice Defrance. "We used to focus on the big-three legacy airlines, but are now looking to smaller carriers in the Gulf and India."

Brachet says AFI KLM E&M is "satisfied" with its current Middle Eastern customer base, which it will continue to support from its logistics centre and aerostructures facility in Dubai.

"We are pragmatic, and we want to build up our capability first," she adds.

Defrance says that in India, AFI KLM E&M plans to expand its partnership with Mumbai-based MRO provider Max Aerospace. Besides narrowbody component work, Max will also work on the recently disclosed ATR 72 component deal with IndiGo, AFI KLM E&M reveals.

The deal covers 30 of the low-cost carrier's incoming ATR 72-600 turboprops. AFI KLM E&M has said the work will be supported by the group's joint venture with Sabena Technics' Airbus A320 and ATR component repair shop in Singapore, established in 2016 to support the Asia-Pacific region.

"Around India, we have Pakistan International Airlines and Shaheen Air as customers," notes Defrance. "The aircraft fleet is growing in India, and there are many customers out there."

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