Aviation’s Flight Path to the Future

Aviation’s Flight Path to the Future
October 11, 2012 at 09:10am

Here in the region, there is a small but growing number of cafes, shops and restaurants that are differentiating themselves by serving food that is organic, locally grown – or both. From the Bio Shop and Isis Organic foods in Egypt, to Ripe produce markets and the Baker & Spice café in the UAE, to the Souk el Tayeb farmers market and Tawlet restaurant in Lebanon, businesses are looking to meet the growing preference for food that is healthier, more sustainable and locally sourced.

But the combination of “local” and “sustainable” is not just a winning one in culinary settings. It’s an equally powerful mix in sectors as seemingly dissimilar as manufacturing or aviation. Of course, the aviation industry uses slightly different language, and so speaks of “efficiencies” and “sustainability,” instead of “organic”, and refers to “localization” instead of “local”. Nevertheless, the benefits are just as profound.

With locally grown organic food, consumers enjoy produce and dairy that tastes better and has more natural nutrients, thereby helping people to be healthier. These foods also add more value to the local economy and are better for the environment.

It’s the same for industry, and the aviation sector in the Middle East provides a good example. By bringing together technologies and systems that are sustainable and resource efficient, and then combining them with localization initiatives, the region’s aviation sector is positioning itself to deliver robust growth that contributes strongly to local economies through high-caliber employment opportunities and economic diversification, and deeper trade, investment and tourism links with the rest of the world.

It is critical that this industry pursue its growth in a sustainable way, given that air transport today is responsible for 3% of human-generated climate change and that commercial airlines around the world are projected to take delivery of more than 28,000 new passenger and cargo jets through 2030.

Here in the Middle East, some examples of efficient and sustainable aviation technologies in use include:

  • The recently initiated Emirates “FLOW Project,” powered by GE’s airline-based flow management system, will allow the airline to reduce fuel, delay costs, and improve its hub passenger-connection schedule at Dubai International Airport by sequencing and spacing Emirates’ arrivals according to the airline’s commercial priorities. The flow system significantly enhances arrival flow, leading to an increased aircraft landing rate and runway use. This will improve efficiency, reduce fuel burn and add to passenger connectivity.
  • The GEnx engines, which will be serviced in the region, use the latest-generation materials and design processes to reduce weight, improve performance and lower maintenance. Part of GE’s ecomagination product portfolio, the GEnx delivers 15% better specific fuel consumption (which translates to 15% less CO2) than the engines it replaces, helping operators save whenever they fly.

Examples of regional localization efforts include:

  • An agreement between Emirates and GE Aviation that will see GE help oversee the design and construction of Emirates’ new technologically advanced, 21,000-square-meter Engine Overhaul Shop in Dubai. The most advanced facility in the Middle East, the shop will complement Emirates’ Test Cell Facility in Dubai. The Engine Overhaul Shop for GE90 and Engine Alliance’s GP7000 engines will allow Emirates to provide the highest-standard, most cost-effective and efficient engine maintenance to its fleet and will create more than 500 new job opportunities, with a large percentage of these to be occupied by UAE nationals.
  • Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) is working with GE to build the world’s first GE and Engine Alliance network partner Overhaul Shop and Test Cell Facility for the GEnx and Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. The facility will bring significant new capabilities to the region and will provide efficient, localized support to the growing fleet of GE and its and its joint venture partnership engines in the MENA region.
  • GE and Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) collaborated to build the GE Advanced Technology and Research Center in Qatar that provides training on GE engine models, and advanced high-tech and jet maintenance training programs. The first facility of its kind outside North America, it is the hub for training of GE aviation and energy corporate customers in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. The facility provides training on a range of jet engines, including the GE90, CF6, CF34 and GEnx models.

The above examples, which are just a sampling of many similar initiatives underway in the region, demonstrate how sustainability and localization are a recipe for solid economic development that both supports knowledge-intensive industries and is good for the environment.

Learn more here about how GE Aviation is moving people and goods within, to and from the MENA region.

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