x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Boeing deal gives Strata US access

Strata of Al Ain has picked up its first US manufacturing contract to produce spoilers for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Strata has been sub-contracted to produce spoilers, the wing flaps that reduce lift and help control descents, for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Above, a Boeing technician works on a wing of an airplane being produced in Everett, Washington.
Strata has been sub-contracted to produce spoilers, the wing flaps that reduce lift and help control descents, for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Above, a Boeing technician works on a wing of an airplane being produced in Everett, Washington.

Strata, the Al Ain aerospace manufacturer, has gained a foothold in the US after finalising a deal to produce aircraft parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development, has been sub-contracted to produce spoilers, the wing flaps that reduce lift and help control descents, for Boeing's latest commercial aircraft.

The 787 spoiler deal was negotiated through FACC, a major contractor of Boeing and Airbus, based in Austria.

"Strata has completed negotiations with FACC for the Boeing 787 spoiler, and this will commence in Strata in 2012," said Mubadala, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government. Strata also expects to soon conclude deals negotiated directly with Boeing on other "significant work packages", according to Mubadala.

The firm is also preparing to start work on 11 other contracts over the next two years, which will put the 21,600 square metre plant at full capacity, generated by 1 million man hours a year.

"Strata has made tremendous progress in a short space of time," said Homaid al Shemmari, the executive director of Mubadala Aerospace. "Phase one of the productive, state-of-the-art facility in Al Ain is fully operational."

The plant's second phase will be evaluated next year.

"Strata" is the Latin word for layers and describes the process of making carbon fibrecomponents. The company specialises in the production of aircraft wing and tail sections using these composite materials, which are increasingly popular in the aerospace industry and a major feature of the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing's latest aircraft is preparing to enter commercial service this year after three years of delays. Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways are among its largest customers.

Lightweight, highly durable composite materials are also major elements in Airbus's latest aircraft, the A350, which is due for its first deliveries in 2014.

Mubadala said it was also in final discussions to be sub-contracted by Sabca of Belgium to produce flap track fairings for the aircraft.

Strata was launched by Mubadala in 2008 to serve as a catalyst for Abu Dhabi's growing aerospace industry, which will be clustered around Al Ain International Airport.

Another anchor tenant owned by Mubadala is the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre. Last year Strata began the production of parts for the A330 and A340, which now includes flap track fairings and ailerons.

It is preparing to start making flap track fairings for the Airbus A380, on behalf of FACC, in the second or third quarter of this year. And in the third quarter, Strata plans to begin the production of Airbus A330 and A340 spoilers.

Strata has also signed deals with ATR, a European maker of turbo-prop aircraft, to produce empennage tail sections under three contracts starting this year and next. In preparation for this project, an Emirati team of six students is being trained in engineering in Italy.

Another six contracts are planned for next year.

"These continued developments illustrate the progress being made in placing the aerospace sector at the forefront of the emirate's economic diversification strategy," Mr al Shemmari said.

igale@thenational.ae