One of today's MRO Middle East conference sessions honed in on the specific challenges of maintaining aircraft in the Middle East's varied but punishing environments. The climate here is particularly hard on engines and their components and on aircraft air conditioning systems, which struggle to keep up in temperatures as hot in the summer as 50 degrees C.
One interesting thing I learned from Oman Air's Adil Al-Sheibani is that the size and nature of the sand particles makes a difference. The bigger the particles, the more they affect cold-section parts, he says. The finer the particles, the more they impact aircraft engines' hot section, deteriorating blade tips and blocking cooling ducts and passages. Oman Air often deals with dust as fine as talcum powder, he says, so hot-section wear is a major issue.
Al-Sheibani says open discussions with OEMs is key to resolving operational issues, as well as communication with other operators. He strongly advocates stronger support from manufacturers, particularly during the design phase.
"They don't design airplanes just to operate in Sweden!" he quipped, suggesting that OEMs really consider the Middle East for field operations.
That way, he suggests, in-service issues might be prevented.