Why the world is shifting towards inflatable hangars for aircraft maintenance

An inflatable hangar is cost-effective, reduces downtime to a minimum and saves time and money as compared to a conventional hangar

Why the world is shifting towards inflatable hangars for aircraft maintenance
An inflatable hangar. Image courtesy: GMR

GMR Aero Technic (GAT), the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) division of GMR Air Cargo and Aerospace Engineering Ltd (GACAEL), has decided to venture into aircraft maintenance and service in Asia. The company aims to do this by adopting new innovative technology in the form of an inflatable hangar. Currently, the GAT is the only MRO in the Asia region to have installed such a hangar.

Company officials say that the hanger could be used for multiple purposes, including scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, engine or landing gear replacement. 

Ashok Gopinath, CEO, GMR Aero Technic, said, “The latest addition of this inflatable hangar to our MRO will help us take additional business and support our customers in meeting their timelines and commitments of aircraft operations and redeliveries. Such hangars are used as a proper alternative to conventional hangars by MROs in Europe and GCC for many years now. 

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“In the long term, we are looking at adding a couple of more hangars aimed at upgrading to include widebody aircraft capability including painting, certain critical component workshops and military MRO business. GAT has been very proactive in constantly looking at new technologies and adopting them to enhance business needs.” 

The one-bay narrowbody inflatable hangar is sufficient to take one Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 series aircraft which will add one additional bay to GAT’s already existing seven-bay capacity. With this additional line, GAT would be able to handle additionally 15 to 20 smaller base maintenance checks or four to five end of lease checks per year.

An inflatable hangar is cost-effective, reduces downtime to a minimum and saves time and money as compared to a conventional hangar, at the same time catering for all the functionality, safety features and structural stability of the conventional hangar, a press release said.

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The inflatable hangar is also expected to work as a dedicated base maintenance facility complementing existing facilities in GMR Aero Technic, Hyderabad and help in optimising the already available resources in terms of manpower, tooling and support workshop.