Airbus eyes Dubai as manufacturing base

Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, yesterday revealed its interest to shift some of the aircraft manufacturing operations to Dubai through Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), according to senior executives, GN reported.

Last month, EADS, Airbus' parent company, signed an agreement at the Farnborough Air-show with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development to manufacture parts and components through the Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), including a $500 million composites plant to produce carbon fibres for the A380 model.

"Dubai is very much on our map, and we only await DAE to formulate its strategy in this respect, and as soon as they announce it, we will be ready," Tom Enders, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), told Gulf News during the ceremony of delivering the first A380 aircraft to the airline in Hamburg yesterday.

Airbus is fighting a bitter battle in Europe to secure the competitiveness of its manufacturing operations through cutting the additional costs posed by the depreciating value of the US dollar against the Euro, an obvious advantage for its US based rival, Boeing.

The company is seeking to sell off European plants in the UK, France, and Germany, and to outsource a greater share of its manufacturing operations in other areas, especially the dollar zone and the low cost manufacturing areas.

"The most important advantage for Dubai in this respect is the currency, which is pegged to the dollar, and this will ensure lower production costs. Hence, Dubai can very much be our next target," John J. Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer (COO) for customers, said.

The alliance with Mubadala was preceded by various announcements related to the readiness of establishing a fibres plant, as well as other agreements for servicing new generations of jet engines.

"DAE is targeting manufacturing, though at this stage we have nothing yet to announce, but soon we will reveal details about the matter," said Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group.

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