Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: A strategic location and government investment are making the Middle Eastern nation into a global hub for air transport, and the country is also investing in space exploration.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the largest markets in the world for aerospace and civil and military aircraft, with robust demand for aircraft equipment, parts and services.
The UAE civil aviation industry has grown steadily over the past few decades, and has outpaced other regional markets due to government investment in aerospace infrastructure and development. The industry is also elevated by the UAE’s location, which positions it to connect nearly two-thirds of the global population within eight in-flight hours. This makes the UAE a global hub for air travel and a pass-through point for both passenger and cargo flights across a vast range of destinations across the world.
Dubai International Airport is the third-busiest airport in the world, and expects a total of 90 million passengers to pass through in 2017. To meet rising demand, Dubai has developed Al Maktoum International Airport, which is currently expanding to accommodate 160 million passengers and 16 million tons of cargo annually. The airport is actively recruiting airlines and operators to fill its five runways.
The Middle East’s business aviation market is expected to reach $1 billion by 2018, with anticipation of over 1,375 registered business jets by 2020.
The UAE is also looking to establish itself as a regional hub for civil and commercial space activities. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) is working on the UAE space program, which includes various space satellite projects and the Emirates Mars Mission. The UAE’s investments in space technologies have exceeded $5.4 billion. These investments include Al Yah 3 satellite and Al Thuraya satellite for maps and earth monitoring. The UAE Space Agency has also undertaken an initiative to build an unmanned probe spacecraft that will orbit Mars by 2021, and the government announced its goal to build the first city on Mars in 100 years, a project known as Mars 2117.
The UAE is focusing on advanced aerospace structure and composite part manufacturing facilities and capabilities, with the goal of being a key supplier to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The UAE is home to two aerospace clusters: Dubai World Central Aviation District and Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park. Aerospace investments in Abu Dhabi are centered in Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park, a 10-square-mile plot of land being developed jointly by Mubadala Development Company and Abu Dhabi Airports Company. The park consists of industrial projects, businesses, office complexes and mixed-used residential zones, with two square miles reserved specifically for the aerospace industry.
The investment companies that have a strong hold in the aerospace sector in the UAE are Tawazun Holding, Mubadala Development Company and Emirates Advanced Investment Group. Their subsidiaries (Ammroc and Strata Manufacturing) have created strategic alliances with U.S. aerospace and defense contractors for knowledge sharing and technology transfer.
Wisconsin companies wanting to explore opportunities in the UAE aerospace market should consider attending the Dubai Airshow from Nov. 12-16, 2017. The event focuses on commercial aviation, military aviation, business aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles, presenting the latest global trends and technological innovations.