Strata eyes aggressive expansion to cope up with slowdown

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on November 21, 2019 | Last updated on November 21, 2019 at 10.00 pm
Ismail Ali Mohammed Abdulla and Alfonso Delgado Recio at the signing ceremony between Strata and GAZC.

(Supplied photo)

Firm to be driven by technology, won't concentrate on aero-structures only, but also grow into materials, engines parts

UAE-based aero-structure producer Strata Manufacturing will expand aggressively in the coming years, foraying into engine parts and materials as well, its CEO Ismail Ali Mohammed Abdulla said.

He foresees a slowdown in the wide-body aircraft vertical; hence, diversifying its portfolio would overcome any slowdown impact.

"We will be a manufacturing company driven by technology but we will not concentrate on aero-structures only. We will grow into materials and engines parts also. We are bringing more products not only on wide-body jets but also manufacturing for business jet. We have started with one product line this year and have signed for another one," Abdulla said.

Today, around 8 per cent of the worldwide fleet of wide-body aircraft parts is manufactured in the UAE, he added.

The UAE's maintenance, repair and operations industry is poised to grow substantially over the next 20 years as European planemaker Airbus on Sunday predicted that the number of aircraft serving the UAE will treble to around 1,730 by 2038 from around 630 in 2019. This will create a lot of business opportunity to parts manufacturers and affiliated services firms in the UAE.

"The future is very exciting. We have a new entity that will be manufacturing pre-break carbon-fibre - raw material that goes into manufacturing of carbon parts for aircraft," Abdulla told Khaleej Times in an interview on the sidelines of Dubai Airshow 2019.

He said the company is in discussions with engine manufacturers to start production of engine parts in the UAE, but declined to share any timeframe for the production.

Abdulla called for balancing short to medium- and long-term supplies. "Over the next 18 months, we see some softening in demand, especially in wide-body aircraft, which is why we'll be diversifying," Abdulla said.

The company, a subsidiary Mubadala Investment Company, has also completed the extension of Strata Plus facility, which will host the largest production line for Boeing's aircraft. "Next year, we will be producing the first parts," he added.

Deal with leading Spanish firm

Also at the airshow, Strata Manufacturing has signed a contract with Grupo Aeronáutico Zona Centro (GAZC) to establish a competitive and lean supply chain network.
Under the five-year agreement, GAZC, a leading Spanish manufacturer of machined detail parts for major OEMs and aerospace industry heavyweights, will be Strata's strategic supplier of fixed metallic computer numerical control machined detail aircraft parts until 2025.

Strata will receive its first GAZC shipment at its Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park production facility later this year.

"Building strategic relationships to leverage the very specific expertise of well-established players across the global supply chain of aero-structure components and establishing Strata's own supply network are key factors in Strata's immediate and long-term strategy," said Abdulla.

Strata's alignment with GAZC represents the UAE manufacturing pioneer's latest initiative in outsourcing sub-tier business functions, specifically best-cost procurement partnerships for aircraft parts that are vital elements of Strata-manufactured components.

"This agreement represents the consolidation of a common vision between Strata and GAZC, it enables us to further build our business relationship and provides us a firm foundation for future collaboration essential in order to meet the growing needs and expectations of a high regulated aerospace sector," said Alfonso Delgado Recio, CEO of GAZC.

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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