READY FOR TAKE OFF

Abu Dhabi 2017 | AEROSPACE | FOCUS: NIBRAS AEROSPACE PARK

Nibras Aerospace Park is the diamond in the desert for Abu Dhabi's blooming aersospace industry, attracting names big and small through its gates.

The entry route into the city of Al Ain is dominated by expansive dunes, native trees, and wide-open spaces that satisfy any traveller's desert safari desires. It is also the place where one of the most promising and innovative components of Abu Dhabi's industrial development is taking place. Here, at the entrance to the Garden City and birthplace to the country's founder, the aerospace industry has taken off.

One of the pillars of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, the aerospace industry has been rapidly placed in pole position as part of the Emirate's drive for high-tech industries. The crowning jewel of this plan is Nibras Aeropace Park, an area dedicated to the development of an aerospace industry born as a joint initiative between Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Airports Company. A project that was set in motion in 2012, Nibras is a world-class aerospace center dedicated to the manufacturing and maintenance of aerostructures and original equipment manufacturers for local and international aerospace companies.

Once it reaches completion, Nibras will become a fully fledged hub with education and training institutions within its facilities. It will house a pilot training school, aerospace-related industrial projects, business and office facilities, and mixed-use residential zones with top-notch community services and amenities. Furthermore, Nibras anticipates future status as a pole of attraction for SMEs and large corporations as the cluster becomes a research and development center for the entire Middle East.

With 85% of Phase I completed and with Phase II to be triggered over the course of the next three years, Nibras has become a catalyst for Abu Dhabi's economic diversification. It has reduced production costs and leveraged the competitive advantage of the local industry in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. Most importantly, Nibras has opened the door to a technologically advanced labor market, with a growing number of women attracted to this sector.
To date, 65% of the total space available in the cluster has already been occupied by a number of globally recognized aerospace companies. Tenants include Strata, a local aerostructure manufacturing company that has signed partnerships with the global leading manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, AMMROC, and Piaggio Aerospace amongst others.

As for the partnerships signed along the expansion of Nibras, the multi-year contract signed in 2013 between Mubadala and Boeing has been a high point. The agreement is for the supply of USD2.5 billion in advanced composites and aerostructures for the multinational's commercial programs. This agreement has served as an anchor for the American giant and has encouraged other aerospace producers to follow suit. In 2015, the cluster reached a new milestone by acquiring the rights for the 18-month internship program between Boeing and Mubadala, which will provide aerospace engineering expertise to bolster the UAEs industrial capabilities. In 2016, 10 Emirati students made up the first batch of graduates for the joint program and another 10 locals are expected to join in 2017.

Mubadala's Strata, the leading aerospace manufacturing company in the UAE, was also awarded two contracts with Airbus worth over USD1 billion for the assembly of the Horizontal Tail Plane for the A320 and the Inboard Flaps for the A350-900 aircraft. The leading development company of Abu Dhabi also secured an agreement with Rolls-Royce to build an engine maintenance center and to manufacture the company's Trent XWB engines—used to power Airbus A350—in Nirbas Park, which is expected to be finished in 2021.

In late 2016, DHL Global Forwarding also initiated a strategic partnership with Mubadala to streamline the logistics process from Nibras and its tenant companies. The five-year partnership is expected to reduce airfreight costs and improve logistics connectivity among the aerospace manufacturing companies based in Nibras.

With the board set for the aerospace industry to become one of the UAEs future leading industries, Nibras Aerospace Park is attracting the eyes of the world to one of the most ambitious projects to have been carried out in Abu Dhabi to date.