Singapore Air Show

Dubai backing $15 billion aero service industry

 - December 6, 2006, 7:46 AM

Continuing to reduce its reliance on oil exports through diversification, Dubai is backing a $15 billion plan to establish an aviation manufacturing and services industry to add to its portfolio. Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) will oversee six subsidiary companies that in turn are expected to address 14 related industry segments.

The surprise announcement was made on Sunday–two days before Asian Aerospace opened. Dubai and Singapore are rivals not just as airshow venues, but also in their ambitions to be dominant aerospace hubs in their neighboring regions.

“Within ten years, DAE will become an integral part of the global industry and a leading player,” said the new group’s chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who also heads Emirates Airline and Dubai’s civil aviation department.

DAE plans to form strategic alliances with established aerospace operators at a time when the Arab region is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth. It points out that during 2004-23 some 58 percent of widebody airliner deliveries will be made to carriers in the Middle East and Asia, while 29 percent of the world’s population live within four hours’ flying time.

The new company will begin by addressing the airport, aircraft finance, and aerospace education and training sectors. DAE intends to  develop maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses before 2007. Also in DAE’s sights are opportunities in component and engine manufacturing, space services, aircraft brokerage, aviation information technology, and aviation media and events.

The new enterprise will focus on airport development in India and China. Finance and leasing activity will address widebody requirements, and university and research-and-development facilities will offer degrees and apprenticeships.

Joining the government in backing DAE are financial concerns Dubai International Capital, Emaar Properties, Istithmar, Dubai International Finance Centre, AMLAK Finance and Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority.