I think people underestimate the Beirut airport facility (they think it is some cheap little small old run down airport). It is a very good facility, not as big as DXB
. Then again, DXB
is run by a government that is very rich that is able to fund all these massive expansions and pour tons of money into Emirates to keep expanding.
Beirut in the future hopefully will become a descent hub, not as big as DXB
, but a good alternative.
I think the Lebanese government is smart in trying to pursue this "mega-maintenance hub." For one, it will be the investers who will be paying for it, so it really won't cost the government much.
Labor in Dubai and the rest of the gulf is higher than in Lebanon as the article mentions which is what Lebanon is using to lure investers.
Airbus and Bombardier have already expressed very strong interest which is a fantastic sign. Let's hope this progresses.
If all goes well, Beirut will become the maintenance hub of the Middle East. Their are also plans to open pilot training facilities with flight simulators to train pilots.
Private charter flights have increased dramatically in Beirut. Their are so many business jets that come into Beirut. Infact their isn't enough room for them so they end up parking in the gates! That is why soon they will open a nice new VIP terminal for this kind of traffic and soon begin construction on 12 more hangers to handle these aircraft. It is hoped also that Beirut will become a major hub for private charter aircraft companies to have bases.
Here it is as of a few months ago:
So the main objectives are to become a major aircraft maintenance hub and and a major private aircraft/charter base as well.
Why would spare parts manufacturing have to be tied in any way to airport development/maintenance operations?
It's not exactly tied. You're right. The initial stages are for aircraft manufactuers to just open a maintenance base in Beirut. They will initially import all the spare parts. At a later stage, it is hoped that they will open manufacturing facilities to manufactuer these spare parts locally which will help reduce costs in the long run and further enhance the capability of the maintenance operations.
Simply put, the government is going to do the marketting, and the foreign companies will have to come and show interest and invest in these projects. They will probably be given incentives as well.
I always thought that mainteneance is done by either specialized manitenance companies or airline's divisions dealing with that type of business, not airport authority.
Exactly. It's not done by the airport authority. However the airport authority is trying to attract the maintenance companies to come to Beirut. The foreign companies will have to invest in the project and once they have enough investers, they can begin working on this $450 million project.
They are giving the foreign companies reasons why they should come to Beirut and are offering them incentives to do so.
The article mentions Airbus and Bombardier have already expressed very strong interest which is a good sign.
Isn't there a great deal of specialization going on in a/c maintenance business?
Yes, which is exactly why this is a pretty big project.
Especially if we're talking about heavy maintenance, i.e. you can't possibly do Boeing if you're doing Airbus already. Correct me if I'm wrong?
All I know is that the goal is to get as many companies as possible. Both aircraft manufactuers, and specific aircraft maintenance companies.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran