Sanad Expands Maintenance Portfolio, Workforce Recruitment

Credit: Sanad

DUBAI—Abu Dhabi-based engine MRO provider Sanad is expanding its maintenance capabilities and boosting workforce pipeline efforts to grow its aftermarket business portfolio.

On the sidelines of the 2023 Dubai Airshow, Sanad CEO Mansoor Janahi told Aviation Week the company is looking at global expansion opportunities through partnerships in regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe and South Asia. Days later, Sanad signed a memorandum of understanding with Egyptair Maintenance & Engineering to partner on engine MRO capabilities in Egypt. The partnership will offer what the companies say is enhanced engine testing and MRO services, including in-house engine part repairs, in both Cairo and Abu Dhabi.

Janahi tells Aviation Week Sanad wants to become “a one-stop-shop” for engine maintenance by extending capabilities into more engine components and APUs. “There are certain engine components such as hydraulics, fuel pumps and so on that we’re sending outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This will enhance our technical capability and improve on efficiency and time,” he says.

Sanad is also diversifying its maintenance capabilities beyond engines through a new partnership with Thales. It signed a strategic framework agreement Nov. 15 with the aerospace and defense specialist to begin offering maintenance, installation, testing and commissioning services for air navigation, air traffic management and airport safety and security systems designed by Thales.

Janahi says Sanad saw airport development in the Middle East region as a segment with plenty of growth potential, so it decided to create a new airports division. “As you’re seeing this modernization and new airports being developed, we want to become a maintenance champion within the airports segment,” he says.

Meanwhile, within the UAE Sanad is also expanding its portfolio. Before the opening of the Dubai Airshow, Sanad publicly unveiled its new Leap Engine MRO Center in Abu Dhabi, and on Nov. 16 it enhanced its shared service agreement with Etihad Engineering.

“We’ve renewed and extended our work with Sanad across multiple areas, increasing our total hangar capacity with the planned acquisition of a hangar from Sanad and leasing additional hangar space and engine storage areas to Sanad to serve their operational needs,” says Daniel Hoffmann, CEO of Etihad Engineering.

Despite these new portfolio expansions, Janahi stresses that Sanad is prioritizing capacity for its current contracts and the workforce required to keep pace.

“We’ve got $8 billion of a backlog running up to 2035. Our focus at the moment is making sure that we ramp up efficiently to ensure that we fulfill our obligations to our partners,” says Janahi. “The outlook is positive, but it is going to be challenging as well. One thing that is always a challenge is the manpower side. We have a clear plan to ensure that, ultimately, we’ve got a sustainable workforce pipeline.”

In addition to a variety of workforce recruitment efforts such as internships, apprenticeships and an engineering workstream to give local students hands-on opportunities to learn about MRO careers within Sanad’s facilities, Janahi says Sanad also started “doubling down on our effort for future leadership” this year through the launch of its Future Leadership Program. Under the 12-month program, Sanad selects students to attend what Janahi says is one of Europe’s top business schools in Italy. Students within the program complete a business-related capstone project that they then present to Sanad.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.