Aviation deals will help Al Ain’s economy take flight, says local paper

WAM ABU DHABI, 21st November, 2013 (WAM) — The deal struck this week between Mubadala Aerospace and Rolls-Royce for servicing Trent XWB engines in Al Ain reinforces the UAE’s position as a technical hub for aviation. It will also boost employment prospects in the city and marks a further significant point on the road towards establishing a knowledge-based economy, commented a U.A.E daily.

“Seattle, Toulouse, Al Ain? It may seem far-fetched to some, but Abu Dhabi’s second city is poised to become a significant global player in the field of aviation engine maintenance and aerospace engineering”, said ‘The National’ in an editorial today.

There is huge demand across the Middle East for Trent XWB engines, driven by the multibillion deals for new passenger planes signed by Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline and others at the Dubai Airshow.

As The National reported, the British company will work with Mubadala to establish the first Trent XWB engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the Middle East. Rolls-Royce will also source up to US$500 million (Dh1.84 billion) of engine components from Mubadala once it reaches manufacturing capacity.

The deal is one of a raft of commercial agreements that it is hoped will turn Al Ain into a significant aviation-industry hub to compare with Seattle in the US, the production site of Boeing, and Toulouse, France, where Airbus is headquartered.

On Monday, there was the announcement of a US$5 billion agreement to build parts for both manufacturers. Last month, agreements were reached with the Serbian government covering several industries including aerospace manufacturing and last year a US$1 billion deal was signed to build sections of Boeing’s 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft at the Strata Manufacturing plant in Al Ain.

These projects clearly demonstrate that the investments being made by Etihad, Emirates and others are generating a return commitment and, crucially, are generating jobs too. It is expected that these agreements and others will create 20,000 jobs in Al Ain by 2030 – with at least 50 per cent of those going to Emiratis. In turn, many of these jobs will require specialist technical expertise.

“This is the real substance behind the headline-grabbing deals for new planes and demonstrates that the airline business is an engine for growth, expertise, knowledge and jobs in this country”, concluded the paper.

WAM/ES/AM

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