Deals signed this week will make Al Ain one of the world’s leading centres in aircraft parts manufacture and maintenance, with a set target of creating 20,000 jobs by 2030.
“I always said I wanted Al Ain to be as good as Seattle and Toulouse,” said Homaid Al Shemmari, executive director of Mubadala Aerospace, at the Dubai Airshow.
“I want people to say Al Ain and for it to resonate with aerospace.”
Yesterday, Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre, a company partly owned by Mubadala, signed a Dh21.14 billion deal to maintain the Armed Forces aircraft fleet.
On Monday Strata Manufacturing, Mubadala’s advanced composite aerostructures plant, announced deals valued at up to US$5bn (Dh18.3bn) to provide composite materials and metallic aerostructure parts to Airbus, based in Toulouse, and Boeing plants in Seattle.
A day later it unveiled deals with Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation to service and maintain engines made by the two companies.
Mr Al Shemmari said the deals amounted to phase two of Mubadala’s strategy to deepen its aerospace footprint.
“When you talk about this size of numbers, it means expansion of existing facilities, building of new facilities,” he said.
“We always said we wanted to make Al Ain the hub of aerospace in the region.”
The goal fits into Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision to diversity its economy into aerospace and other sectors to lessen reliance on oil and create skilled jobs for nationals.
Existing projects undertaken by Mubadala Aerospace were creating between 10,000 and 12,000 jobs, Mr Al Shemmari said.
Thirty-two per cent of positions at Strata were held by UAE nationals, with 80 per cent of those jobs taken by females, he said.
“Our goal is to create 20,000 jobs within the UAE by 2030, with 50 per cent of those jobs booked for UAE nationals,” he said.
UAE carriers Etihad Airways, Emirates and Flydubai all announced multibillion-dollar orders for Boeing and Airbus aircraft at the airshow on Sunday.
On Monday, Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney said although the company had no plans to build aircraft on foreign soil, there was a possibility of that happening in the future.
And Mr Al Shemmari would not dismiss the possibility of Strata one day building entire aircraft.
“If somebody comes with the right proposal we might think about it,” he said.
Mubadala was also looking at investment opportunities abroad for its aerospace, defence and information communications technology division.
“We will definitely look at opportunities outside the UAE,” Mr Al Shemmari said.
“We’re looking at the whole spectrum of aerospace, maintenance, repair and operation, communications and technology.”
He said the company was looking at majority and minority investments in the US, Europe and Asia.