Youthful DAE raises profile

 - November 27, 2006, 11:46 AM

Launched only four months ago, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has quickly attracted considerable interest and this is reflected in the high level of its participation here at Farnborough. As well as being a sponsor of the flying display, DAE is sponsoring Friday’s International Youth Day when some 1,200 young achievers will attend the show. Indeed, 50 potential graduates of the new DAE University will have lunch in the company chalet and watch the display.

To be established following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Cranfield University, DAE University will create an aviation campus for all levels of education, attracting both national and international students. “We plan to develop new concepts in higher education and teach a wide spectrum of subjects, from how to run an airline, to pilot training,” declared project director Rashid Al Malik.

The driving force behind the launch of DAE in February this year, Al Malik, told Aviation International News that the reaction to the international debut of the new company at the Singapore Air Show (just two days after the announcement in Dubai) was an unknown quantity. “We might have had to go knocking on doors to stimulate interest but in fact we soon had many enquirers,” he noted.

Al Malik is a graduate of the International Pilot Training Center program at Western Michigan University where he gained an air transport pilot license. He was named best pilot in several categories. Later, as a pilot with Dubai-based Emirates, he became aware of the increasing aerospace opportunities in developing markets throughout the world.

Gaining support from many of Dubai’s top businesses and with HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum as its chairman, DAE is building a $15 billion global aerospace, manufacturing and services corporation. In its short existence, the company has identified six key sectors in which it is currently establishing subsidiaries. These include, aircraft leasing, manufacturing, airport development and operations, maintenance repair and overhaul, aviation consultancy and of course the university.

DAE is to be based at Dubai World Central, the new airport and logistics city being constructed at Jebel Ali, which Rashid expects to become a center for the Gulf region and beyond. “Our objective is to be a source for major projects,” said Al Malik. He noted that the Middle East has become the leading buyer of aircraft internationally and together with Asia, will account for three out of every five widebody aircraft delivered in the next few years.

In a significant milestone in the development of the organization, DAE has appointed Bob Johnson as its CEO. Joining the company next month, Johnson was previously chairman of Honeywell’s $11 billion aerospace business, and also held senior positions with AlliedSignal, the AAR Corp. and GE Aircraft Engines.