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UAE could make aircraft parts

posted on 14/11/2007: 2296 views

Mubadala Development Co, Abu Dhabi government's investment arm, and EADS, the European aerospace and defence firm, are in talks to manufacture carbon graphite airframe materials in Abu Dhabi.

In what could provide a massive boost to the emirate's ambition to develop a local aerospace industry, the two firms are negotiating over ways to manufacture composite materials used in modern commercial aircraft.

Both Boeing and Airbus are focusing on fuselage built with composite materials. Boeing's 787 is built 50 per cent with environment-friendly composite materials. Airbus' newly launched A350 XW will also be built with composite materials. EADS officials say the deal, which has been under discussions for six months, could see the manufacturing of carbon fibre fuselage parts in Abu Dhabi within three years.

"We're talking with them about carbon fibre, which is where the future of civil aviation lies," Marwan Lahoud, chief strategy and marketing officer at EADS, told Gulf News. EADS is the parent company of Airbus, which enjoyed heavy orders during the air show of its A350XWB made up of more than 50 per cent composites.

Mubadala chief operating officer Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi acknowledged that talks were ongoing but said it was premature to discuss details. Al Muhairi said Mubadala was engaged in similar discussions with Italian aerospace and military firm Finmeccanica for the possible assembly of fighter trainer aircraft in Abu Dhabi. A Finmeccanica subsidiary, Alenia Aermacchi, is shortlisted for an order from the UAE armed forces for its M-346 fighter trainers.

If the Italian firm wins the order, it may set up assembly units in Abu Dhabi, according to Filippo Bagnato, executive vice-president, technical industrial and commercial development at Finmeccanica. Boeing is also looking at ways to partner with Mubadala and is focused on maintenance of military aircraft in the region. However, outgoing executive vice-president of sales for the Middle East and Africa, Lee Monson, said. (Gulf News)


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