KU Affairs

SANAD and Lufthansa Technik Middle East Spearhead Aviation Industry Innovation with Khalifa University’s Expertise 

November 16, 2023

Cutting-Edge Collaboration: Sanad, Lufthansa Technik Middle East and Khalifa University join forces to develop cutting-edge digital solutions poised to transform the aviation industry.


  •         Technological Leap: this technology leverages AI, IoT, 3D imaging, and the AVIATAR platform, to reduce a minimum of 10 days from the traditional 30-day TAT for component repairs.
  •         Innovative Research at Khalifa University: Khalifa University’s Advanced Research and Innovation Center (ARIC) plays a crucial role in this initiative. With a dedicated team developing cutting-edge technologies.


In a groundbreaking collaboration, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, in collaboration with Sanad, the global aerospace engineering and leasing solutions leader wholly owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Company PJSC (Mubadala), and Lufthansa Technik Middle East (LTME), world-renowned provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, have announced the development of cutting-edge digital solutions poised to transform components repair turnaround time (TAT). 


This technological leap, spearheaded by Sanad and LTME, has been further enriched through the dedicated  team of researchers at Khalifa University’s Advanced Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), a collaborative R&D center between Mubadala and Khalifa University.  It signifies a pivotal moment in the aviation industry, leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 3D imaging, and the innovative AVIATAR platform. Collectively, their mission is to reduce a minimum of 10 days from the traditional 30-day turnaround time for component repair. At the core of their innovative approach lies the streamlining of preliminary inspections driven by an innovative AI-based tool developed by Khalifa University researchers. 


With technical guidance from the Sanad R&D team, the research team at Khalifa University’s ARIC, including 10 UAE National undergraduate students, a PhD researcher, three research engineers, and two faculty members, has developed the automated chord measurement system. This system utilizes laser profiling and robotic technologies for aerospace MRO operations. ARIC’s advanced AI-based visual inspection of aero-engine blades promises to reduce human error and expedite the time-consuming process associated with current manual inspections, thereby elevating precision, efficiency, and safety in chord measurements and blade inspections within aerospace MRO operations.  


Khalifa University’s revolutionary tool automatically generates a comprehensive digital inspection report that encompasses all relevant preliminary inspection details. Seamless sharing of this inspection report is facilitated through a secure digital connectivity platform, built upon Lufthansa Technik’s AVIATAR Management platform, enabling real-time defect detection using laser calibration and robot arms. 


This collaboration marks another stride by Khalifa University in its contribution to developing advanced technology components for the aerospace sector and building human capital in the UAE. The synergy between LTME and SANAD is set to empower LTME to enhance the overall value they deliver to their partners while simultaneously supporting SANAD in minimizing downtime. 


Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: “The value of this academia-industry partnership, as exemplified by combining Khalifa University’s expertise and talent with Lufthansa Technik Middle East and Sanad Aerotech, gains further significance with the outcome that benefits all stakeholders. As a research-intensive and innovation-oriented academic institution that is continuously pioneering scientific excellence, Khalifa University works towards providing real-life solutions, leveraging on its good rapport with industry partners. We believe this partnership not only highlights the importance of such a collaboration but also emphasizes the key role of education, expertise and knowledge that make dreams a reality.” 


“Today marks the beginning of a journey that goes beyond the standards of our industry,” said Ziad Al Hazmi, Chief Executive Officer of LTME. “I have no doubt that this industry-academia collaboration with Khalifa University in the lead, is the stepping stone for digitalization in aircraft maintenance, and will pave the way for new technological discoveries. Our partnership with SANAD, is a testament to our commitment to make use of the immense potential of the next generation of innovators and shaping their brilliant minds.” 


“With the dedication and strength of our partnerships with LTME and the potent synergy of academia and industry, we have propelled the aviation industry into a new era. Together, we are turning possibilities into tangible breakthroughs, and our journey has only just begun,” said Mansoor Janahi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sanad. “This collaboration, bridging academia and corporations, reinforces our commitment to excellence, fortifying the aviation supply chain. Through our pursuit of innovation and efficiency, we’re reshaping the landscape of component repair turnaround times and cementing Abu Dhabi’s position as a dynamic aviation hub, charting a course for an even brighter future in the aerospace industry.”


Together, LTME, SANAD, and Khalifa University are embarking on a transformative journey to digitize and transform the aviation industry’s MRO process. Their shared vision is to establish new standards for efficiency and reliability in component repair, solidifying their commitment to excellence in the aviation sector’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul process.