x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Joint venture wins contract to build Al Ain aircraft plant

Max Bogl of Germany and Zarooni Transemirates are building the facility for Strata Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development.

A joint venture between two construction firms from Germany and the UAE says it has been awarded a contract to build a 21,600 square metre composites plant in Al Ain, a flagship project for the Abu Dhabi Government's aerospace plans. Max Bogl of Germany and Zarooni Transemirates are building the facility for Strata Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development, which is an investment arm of the Government.

A Mubadala representative acknowledged the awarding of the contract, but declined to disclose its value. The consortium broke ground on the plant in June, Mubadala said, just weeks after Mubadala created Strata Manufacturing as part of plans to develop a manufacturing, services and training centre in Abu Dhabi for the global aviation industry. The project is part of the Government's plans to diversify the local economy.

Strata is scheduled to begin manufacturing composite parts for several European aviation firms by the end of next year. Mubadala's eventual goal is to expand the plant to more than 60,000 square metres, and manufacture and market a new business aircraft in the second half of the next decade. Conject, a German facilities management software firm, has been hired by the contractors to help co-ordinate efforts between teams working in several different countries through a secure internet platform, it said yesterday.

In a press release, Conject said: "The project's general contractor, Max Bogl/Zarooni Transemirates has been given a project time of 15 months to deliver the first facilities, which eventually will allow Abu Dhabi to bring out its first fully manufactured aircraft between 2016 and 2018." Mubadala is also creating joint ventures with the American firms General Electric and Sikorsky Aerospace Services to establish maintenance companies that specialise in building jet engines and military aircraft.

Mubadala is building the composites plant in co-ordination with the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, which is developing an aerospace zone at Al Ain airport, where Strata will be based. Homaid al Shemmari, the associate director of Mubadala's aerospace unit, said in June that the plant was "a crucial step for Abu Dhabi in achieving its ambition for Strata to become a Tier One supplier for the next generation of civil aircraft during the next decade and beyond".

Strata already holds US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) in customer contracts with EADS, Airbus, FACC and Alenia Aeronautica to produce aircraft parts such as flap track fairings, ailerons and spoilers, all from extremely durable, lightweight composite components. igale@thenational.ae