GAL: Ultimate Sustainment Solutions

While committed to providing fleet readiness to the UAE Armed Forces, GAL is widening its ambit into the commercial realm and working towards expanding its global footprint, seeking business opportunities outside the UAE, says Mohammed Saeed Al Khemairi, Chief Executive Officer, GAL, in this interview. Excerpts:

GAL, which provides UAE Air Force comprehensive maintenance and logistics support for its fleet, offers complete solutions to its customers including aircraft modifications or upgrades, tip to tail management and supply chain support

Mohammed Saeed Al Khemairi is Chief Executive Officer of GAL, and in this role, he is responsible for leading the overall strategy and strategic objectives of the company, including the implementation of its functional objectives and overseeing critical management aspects of the business, operations, support and people management. Prior to joining GAL, Al Khemairi was Director of Inter Aviation within the UAE Armed Forces. Al Khemairi brings to his role 24 years of experience as an aviation professional, exposed to high-level strategic and operational initiatives, including infrastructure design, process reengineering, turnaround management, and reorganisation of complex business challenges.

GAL has been providing integrated aviation readiness solutions for both military and civilian customers for more than 13 years. How challenging has been the road to success, and what is the company’s position now in the industry globally?

GALis a 100 per cent UAE-owned company and was founded in 2007. GAL hasover 5,000 employees and supports more than 500 aircraft.Over the years, GAL has builtnumerous strong relationships with the major OEMs and formed strategic alignment with complementary MRO partners.

GAL maintains a rigorous operations and compliance system that has earned approval from the U.S. Government for the official licencing of our defence services. We have also obtained international certifications including the ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 27001 for Information Security Management. Our aim is to become the Middle East’s leading provider of aviation MRO services, which I’m proud to say we are getting closer now that we are growing successfully even beyond the UAE.

Could you give a detailed picture of GAL’s range of maintenance, repair, overhaul, and support services which are offered to military and civilian operations for fleet readiness?

We provide integrated aircraft sustainment solutions through specialised manpower and technical assistance, and we have agreements with major original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and MRO centres for delivering maintenance, repair and overhaul services that cannot be performed in the UAE.GAL’s core services include aircraft maintenance, technical and engineering support, logistic and supply chain management, command level advisory support, manpower outsourcing, augmentation solutions, simulator maintenance and specialised training.  As an EDGE company, we have the unique ability to work with other companies within the Mission Support cluster, like AMMROC and HORIZON to provide complete solutions to our customers including aircraft modifications or upgrades, tip to tail management and supply chain support.

How important has been the partnership or collaborations with industry leaders and engineers’ innovative approach in addressing the customer needs? Could you also shed some light on the engineering minds you work with?

We have collaborated and partnered with major OEMsand MRO providers such as AAR, Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE, Dassault, among others. Locally, we work very closely with SANAD Aero,Abu Dhabi Aviation, and our sister entity AMMROC. From routine inspections to customised repair and overhaul, we ensure that every maintenance action performed – whether simple or complex; corrective or preventive, is executed to the highest quality and safety standards.GAL has over 4000 subject matter experts on board as employees – fully certified and trained to undertake maintenance, in-routine inspections, and in-depth repair operations on all relevant platforms and aircraft.We only employ the most talented technicians and engineers, both locally and internationally, to work on rotary-wing platforms — making them subject matter experts in the process.

GAL has expanded its client base and now holds several maintenance and integrated logistics services contracts across the UAE. How does the company look at the South Asian and African markets for expanding business?

We have signed agreements with the Kenyan Ministry of Defence to provide them MRO services, specialised maintenance engineers, spare parts and repair management. We have also collaborated with China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), which will allow GAL to establish a warehouse in Abu Dhabi and be the hub for all the spare parts distribution of CATIC in the Middle East. We have several ongoing contracts with the UAE Airforce to provide comprehensive maintenance and logistics support for its fleet, to provide specialised manpower and technical and consultancy support services. And currently we are working towards expanding our global footprint and are seeking business opportunities outside the UAE.

What are the other challenges you face in meeting the requirements of a rapidly changing world as a professional aerospace services provider?

Wehave noticed that there is an increased requirement for aircraft modifications and upgrades because of the aging of the aircraft and to keep up with the latest technology. Therefore, today we are providing additional resources to increase our focus on aircraft modifications and upgrades. We’ve also increased our partnerships with specialised engineering companies and increased our activity with AMMROC, leveraging their state of the art facilities and their experienced engineering capability. With these initiatives, we believe that we are in a well-placed position for the changing aerospace market.

What is the roadmap ahead for GAL? What are the goals and objectives you have set for the company?

We are committed to providing fleet readiness to the UAE Armed Forces. That will always remain our main objective. Furthermore, we are looking forward to taking GAL to the commercial and other regional markets through our strategic relationship including working with AMMROC, SANAD Aero, Abu Dhabi Aviation and other local companies.  We believe this will provide promising strategic opportunities to elevate GAL globally. At present, most of our business is from the military sector. Today, we are working on expanding to the commercial sector, which we believe will make up an ideal business mix.

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