Niche work if you can get it

Innovative suppliers are finding opportunities by identifying niche MRO needs and tailoring their services accordingly.

Samer Karadsheh

Top marks: Samer Karadsheh founder of VSAS expects to offer DentCheck’s innovative technology as a service throughout the region. PICTURE: DentCheck

Outsourcing discrete tasks, an established part of the MRO ecosystem, has grown in scope as base maintenance establishments look for ways to control costs without compromising safety and quality.

They are finding them in unexpected areas such as rental of engine stand, body damage surveys, and on-the-spot repairs of luxury interior fittings.

In 2016, EngineStands24 was founded by the Magnetic Group of Estonia as a global, digitalised one-stop solution for transportation and storage of aerospace engine stands. Though neither the first, nor the only company to see promise in this niche area, the Tallinn-based company claims the honour as the first e-platform for leasing, purchasing and transporting engine stands.

Company head Daiva Zemaite, a regular visitor to Dubai – one of its six global sites – said the uptake of the EngineStands24 offer had been patchy in the region until the Covid-19 pressure on airline cash flow forced major financial reconsiderations.

“In those conditions, it did not make sense to have capital tied up in assets like engine stands that often – in our experience – sit in a corner of the workshop most of the time gathering dust when you can lease them on demand,” Zemaite said.


The company holds certified engine stands for the most common engine types at sites around the world, from Miami to Melbourne, ready for dispatch immediately to where they’re needed. Its ‘one-click’ service covers all needs, from AOG to long-term leasing and outright purchase.

Since Covid, said Zemaite, leasing demand has picked up in the Middle East, where traditionally asset ownership has been the default. EngineStands24 now counts a number of airlines and MROs as regular customers.

Elsewhere, fledgling service provider G-Lux Solutions is going places with its innovation of restoring and maintaining aircraft interiors in the field. In September, it signed a partnership agreement with Falcon Aviation Services, hard on the heels of starting a major project in Sharjah.

Mohamed El Khamlichi, Falcon’s project manager MRO, FBO and aircraft management, said: “Our cooperation with G-Lux adds to the extensive portfolio of services on offer to our customers at Al Bateen executive airport and Al Maktoum International airport.”

Ayrat Gilmutdinov, G-Lux vice-president strategy and business development, said the company, which was founded in Dubai at the start of 2023, has deployed its craftsmen to Sharjah airport where – supported by Gama Aviation – they are refurbishing a Boeing 737 BBJ for a UAE charter and aviation services company.

G-Lux operates mainly in the business aviation and luxury yacht markets with its innovative mobile units taking the company’s specialised range of capabilities to where the aircraft or yacht is parked.

Gilmutdinov said G-Lux is currently assessing the Saudi Arabian market, which could be “huge for us”, with a potential partner.

Meanwhile, VS Aviation Services (VSAS) has become a certified partner of metrology supplier 8tree to offer its DentCheck dent-mapping technology as a service in the Middle East and Africa.

Samer Karadsheh, founder and chief executive of VSAS, said the first DentCheck unit had arrived in Jordan in August, and was being introduced on site in Joramco’s hangars at Queen Alia International Airport to validate its capabilities.

Karadsheh, a certified test flight engineer, said the tool is well-known for automating the time-consuming manual process of mapping dents and imperfections on an aircraft’s skin and control surfaces that affect its performance and fuel consumption.

“It’s a solution that addresses a major problem we have in the industry,” he said. Globally DentCheck-as-a-service has been used to map more than 10,000 dents on wide and narrowbody aircraft in the last 18 months.

VSAS hopes to roll out DentCheck-as-a-service across the region, where the company already provides engineering services to some of the largest fleets and MROs.

“Ultimately,” he said, “the whole Gulf would be our target market. The region is ripe for such a service.”

Chuck Grieve

Chuck Grieve

Chuck Grieve is an award-winning writer and editor with more than 40-years experience in consumer, corporate, trade and technical journalism on a global scale.