Future Is Bright For Alsalam
Alsalam Aircraft Co. (Stand C504; Static Park A58/59) is hoping for a record year and believes there is much business to be had in VIP conversion work and military MRO–with a particular eye on the Typhoon and possibly F-15 fighters.
The Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based company has come a long way since its creation in 1988 as part of an offset agreement to provide technical support to the Royal Saudi Air Force’s E-3/KE-3 fleet. Today, the company has large and modern facilities at King Khalid International Airport, where it performs a range of maintenance, repair and overhaul tasks for both civilian and military customers.
“All of our sectors are growing,” Mohammed Fallatah, the company’s chief executive, told AIN. “This is promising to be a record year for us.”
With good prospects in the near future, especially in the military arena, Alsalam has far outstripped its original ambitions, becoming a major force in the region with a large, highly skilled workforce and a range of sophisticated facilities and testing equipment at its disposal.
Here at the Dubai Air Show the company is focusing on its VIP aircraft refurbishment and maintenance business, which it started in 1996. In 2007 it established a completion center with the ability to manufacture many of the special components required. In the same year it became the warranty center for the Boeing BBJ in the MENA region.
Alsalam’s capabilities are applicable primarily to the larger VIP aircraft such as the BBJ and Airbus range, plus widebodies, and it has undertaken a number of programs for the Saudi Royal Flight. In December it announced a partnership with MAZ Aviation for new aircraft design work and the companies are currently working on two projects.
However, Alsalam sees the refurbishment of older VIP aircraft as a key niche market, and a lucrative one in the Middle East. This area has seen the recent delivery by Alsalam of two Lockheed Hercules in VIP configuration, with a third currently being modified. The Hercules conversion includes adding a CMC Electronics six-screen flight deck and Thales autopilot, as well as installing specialist interiors and large windows.
Military MRO activities continue to form an important aspect of Alsalam’s work. Following initial support work on E-3/KE-3s, the company began performing programmed depot maintenance (PDM) on Saudi Tornados in 1997, an activity that continues today at Dhahran. RSAF PDM contracts followed for E-3/KE-3s in 2000, F-15s in 2002 and C-130s in 2007.
In the near future Alsalam hopes to play a significant part in the support of the Saudi Typhoon force when it is in place. The yet-to-be finalized acquisition of 84 new Boeing F-15SA Eagles, plus the upgrade of existing aircraft to the same standard, also represents a huge opportunity for the company. This could involve support and involvement in the manufacture of subassemblies such as wings, forward fuselages and other components.