John Cockerill to supply one of the world’s biggest aircraft MRO facilities to Saudi Arabia

3D model of John Cockerill's surface treatment lines to supply to SAEI's MRO facilities

September 21st 2023

John Cockerill’s Surface Treatment Business Line is to supply a complete Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility for the aviation industry to Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries Company (SAEI), the MRO arm and wholly owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia).

One of the world’s largest facilities to help SAEI meet Saudi Arabia’s growing MRO demand

The new aircraft maintenance workshop will be among the biggest in the world and comprises several surface treatment and testing lines, as well as the related annex equipment. With a total value of over 20 million Euros this comprehensive project represents John Cockerill Industry’s Surface Treatment Business Line’s biggest single contract and delivery to date.

Aiming at assisting the client to fulfil Saudi Arabia’s growing demand for maintenance, repair and overhaul in the aviation space and to match pace with its expanding fleet of airlines, the new fully automated MRO workshop, which’s center piece has been designed and is currently being erected by the Surface Treatment Business Line’s Finnish entity Galvatek, will comprise a chemical cleaning line and four separate surface treatment lines for the anodizing, passivating, phosphating, and silverplating of jet engine components. Additionally, Galvatek will also supply equipment for non-destructive testing, including techniques like FPI (Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection) and MPI (Magnetic Particle Testing), as well as facilities for the automated mechanical cleaning of components, a dedicated wastewater treatment plant, a bearing cleaning line, and a paint booth.

Allowing SAEI to service engines and fuselages for Saudia as well as other clients

Built on 1 million square meters at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, SAEI’s new MRO village has the capacity to service over 30 aircraft simultaneously, including the apron. It is destined to service engines and aviation components of the Saudia fleet counting some 200 aircraft and will also allow SAEI to offer maintenance, repair, and overhaul services to other aviation companies.

While the workshop will be fully adapted to service all types of jet engine models, it offers a particularly optimized maintenance for General Electric’s GEnx motors, as well as the CFM56 and LEAP engines produced by GE Aerospace in conjunction with Safran Aircraft Engines under the 50/50 CFM International joint venture.

The new MRO facility is planned to fully get off the ground by 2025

After a long and laborious course of negotiations, in October 2022, Galvatek won the contract competing against other American and European suppliers. The first deliveries will be made in autumn 2023, while the commissioning of the first phase will end in 2024.

Once completed, the new servicing facility will open more than 7,000 job opportunities that SAEI will need to fill for optimum operation. SAEI plans to capture a sizeable share of the aviation market in the Middle East and North Africa once the MRO village is operational in 2025.

Our expertise convinced our Saudi Arabian client, SAEI. As a global leader in the supply of surface treatment lines and equipment for the MRO market segment, we have successfully delivered similar facilities to the international aviation industry for decades already. Furthermore, having a long-time service partner like DAES in the region was another strong argument in our favor,” said Jarno Virtanen, Managing Director of Galvatek.

This project is exactly what our new strategy is aiming for: the design and supply of fully automated MRO workshops for all types of high-performance surface treatment technologies and equipment,” commented Samuel CRETS, Head of John Cockerill Industry’s Surface Treatment Business Line. He also added: “We are proud to assist SAEI in their meticulous mission of achieving the highest levels of excellence, safety, and quality across the spectrum of aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul.

John Cockerill to supply aircraft MRO facilities to SAEI in Saudi Arabia