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Abu Dhabi eyeing 10,000 aerospace jobs by 2030

The UAE hopes to become a key supplier to aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus

Mubadala Aerospace, the Abu Dhabi-owned maker of aircraft parts, plans to create up to 10,000 new jobs by 2030 as it seeks to transform itself into a global aviation hub, a top executive said.

The firm, whose subsidiary Strata makes composite parts for Airbus planes, also plans to build the second phase of its Al Ain factory by 2016, said executive director Homaid Al Shemmari.

Strata is also keen to ramp up factory capacity to meet the terms of a deal signed with Boeing last March to produce wing flags for the 787 Dreamliner.

“We have signed a contract with Boeing and we are going through those work packages to bring them online,” Al Shemmari told Arabian Business. “Once we sign more agreements we will be ready to build phase two [of the factory] around 2016.”

Abu Dhabi, home to about 7 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is branching out into aerospace in a bid to diversify its economy and provide jobs for its growing population.

The city sees its aviation ambitions creating thousands of roles by 2030, Al Shemmari said, helping to grow Al Ain’s population to from 35,000 to one million.

“The aerospace is one of the key drivers of that,” he said. “By 2030, we will be creating about 10,000 direct jobs in our industry here in Al Ain. Al Ain ia a bit more conservative and has a lot of highly educated ladies but there are not a lot of job opportunities for them.”

Around a third of Strata’s employees are Emirati. The company’s order book stood at $2.7bn in November.

Abu Dhabi has outlined a plan to invest $500bn in industry, tourism and culture by 2030 and to increase non-oil revenue to 64 percent of the economy from 41 percent in 2007.

Mubadala Aerospace’s parent company generated 20 percent of its revenue from aerospace in the first half. Mubadala Development Co’s revenue in the period grew 70 percent to $3.7bn.

Al Shemmari said the UAE capital was well-positioned to compete with established manufacturing hubs such as China or India, despite the region’s higher labour costs.

“[UAE labour costs] are a lot higher. We never build a strategy and value proposition as a cheap labour destination,” he said. “We can buy the big automated machines, train fewer of our UAE nationals and expatriate workforce to man those 24-hours and produce exactly the same volume as a plant in China that two or three thousand employees.”

Al Shemmari said his aim to build a business jet in Abu Dhabi by the end of the decade.

“We have a strategy to build a jet business aviation aircraft somewhere down the track at the end of this decade. A lot of work has to be done,” he said.


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