UAE focuses on partnerships that bring tech-transfer and local jobs in defence and aviation
Global Aerospace Summit packed with deals, partnership opportunities and space ambitions
The annual Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi this week took off with a series of deals by Strata and international companies including Boeing and local lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprises.
The UAE, already one of the biggest buyers of commercial aircraft, is also placing itself as part of the supply chain for global plane makers such as Airbus and Boeing.
Strata, a key pillar in the country’s efforts to diversify its oil-based economy and build its manufacturing industry, is seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the Far East to expand its supplier base.
A key theme was collaboration between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the aerospace sector. Strata is talking to the kingdom’s aerostructures maker Taqnia to outsource work.
“We want to support them and ensure that we do not duplicate the effort because we see Saudi and UAE as one big market, it doesn’t make sense to have another facility doing what Strata is doing just a 1000 km down the road,” Strata chief executive Ismail Abdulla told The National.
There are “huge opportunities” for partnerships between the two countries, said Khaled Al Qubaisi, chief executive of aerospace, renewables, and information and communications technology at Mubadala.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways was present at the summit, where its group chief executive Tony Douglas made one of his few public comments since taking up the position in January. Etihad will take a more sustainable approach to growth and will remain a major global player in the aviation industry amid efforts to restructure the business, he said.
In the defence sector, the UAE is focusing on partnerships with international companies that lead to technology transfer and sharing know-how.
The UAE is building its defence manufacturing capabilities to diversify the economy, create jobs and invest locally, Mohammed Alfalacy, UAE minister of state for defense affairs, told the conference.
Collaborations that focus on shared opportunity, growth and progress are critical for global security, Marillyn Hewson, president of Lockheed Martin said at the summit. The US-based security and aerospace company has been present in the UAE for four decades and has a partnership with Mubadala.
“Public-private partnerships are most effective and most transformative when they are focused on making a strong, long-term impact,” Ms Hewson said.
Government officials and company executives also delved into the space sector, where the UAE has ambitions for growth and development, discussing the importance of the fourth industrial revolution and advancements in technology.