The Business Year

Mikaile Houari

General Delegate to the UAE, Airbus Group

The Airbus Group has a strong presence in the UAE, where we continue to grow and support our longstanding partners in achieving their objectives. Our products and services are well-adapted to the country. We have a proven commercial policy while also developing a cooperative industrial approach. The A380 has been here one of our key successes, as leading international carriers such as Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways have chosen to operate this aircraft. We have also been successful with the air fueling tanker, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, used by the UAE Air Force. Regarding space activities, the UAE has created Yahsat and we were chosen to deliver two satellites and the associated ground infrastructure to the country. We are proud to be in the UAE and our aim is to contribute and support the leaders in achieving their Vision 2030 goals.

Caio Mussolini

Director General, Vice-President Global Market Development & Head of ME Region, Finmeccanica

Our presence here goes back to the 1970s. Other companies have been providing equipment and systems to the army, navy, and air force since the 1980s, but theirs was more of a buy-sell relationship. Today, it is a deeper, more integrated relationship. It’s a matter of investing in a country in a way that yields it an advantage. We work with some local companies as a sub-supplier to produce parts for aerospace activities related to the construction of aircraft. There are three foreign companies working with Strata, which is a part of Mubadala Aerospace. The goal of Strata is to create a “state-of-the-art“ industrial plant for special composite materials, which are the future of aerospace. We are engaged in a comprehensive transfer of knowledge, because you need to transfer not only equipment, but also processes and skills developed over years of production.

Jeff Johnson

Vice-President & President, Jeff Johnson

When I look at Abu Dhabi, I think of our partnership and community engagement. Over the past five years in particular, we have heavily focused on bringing innovation and technology to Abu Dhabi. Our aim has been to help enable and realize its Vision 2030, specifically in aerospace and aviation. There has been a personal involvement and commitment to the relationship we have with the UAE from the most senior echelons of Boeing. There is not a day goes by without Boeing’s leadership team asking what we are specifically doing in the UAE. In 2008, we realized that we had to change the way that we did business. Before then, we would basically just parachute in the sales team, which would win or lose a sale, and leave, whereupon another team would come in to execute the project. Then, you would do offsets, and most of that would happen outside the US. We decided to create a localized team, and we looked at ways in which we could partner up with Mubadala. The entire process took some time, and the combination in the UAE is interesting, because there is a large commercial airplane market and a particularly large military market. We realized they were going to want some payback and partnership. So, rather than working on offsets, we came in and truly started to source work outside of any transaction, based on the belief that it would pay off over time.

Thibaut Trancart

Country Director UAE, Thales

The satellite deal with Yahsat was a prime example of the potential of this sector. More recently, the Falcon Eyes satellite deal shows how promising and strategic these projects can be. This will enable us to strengthen our local presence as well as to create strategies for developing further cooperation with local industry in various technological domains. Aerospace is an area of great importance for us in this region; huge budgets are invested in airport development and security where Thales has been the systems provider of choice at both Abu Dhabi International and Dubai International airports. Additionally, our UAE defense market share is growing, and for this we provide equipment, systems, and the knowledge to be able to use them. We also know the people when it comes to acquiring equipment, such as radar or communications systems, which is why our expertise is relied on at such events as the upcoming Abu Dhabi 2014 Global Aerospace Summit.

Andrew Humphreys

Vice President - Middle East, BAE Systems

The UAE is a longstanding and important customer and partner for BAE Systems and, with the excellent communication links Abu Dhabi has across the Middle East, we have all we need to establish our company’s regional hub there. We have a long history and understanding of manufacturing techniques in aerospace, maritime, and land systems, which we can explore with Emirati companies looking to develop their own capabilities and efficiencies in these fields. The development of Abu Dhabi’s indigenous defense and aerospace industry has been a remarkable story, set against the ambitious targets of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 for the industry. We have seen the rapid growth of industrial clusters in Al Ain (Nibras) and the Tawazun Industrial Park. The targets set for future capabilities are ambitious and exciting. We will continue to search for the best options to support this vision.

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