US giant to further help UAE, KSA in developing aviation ecosystem

Boeing is also in the process of setting up a $200 million facility in Bengaluru, and will continue to invest in India


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 7:04 PM

The US aircraft manufacturer Boeing will further strengthen its support to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other regional countries in developing an aviation ecosystem, a senior official said.

While speaking ahead of the Dubai Airshow 2023 on Sunday, Brendan Nelson, president of Boeing Global, said the company will focus on working with the regional governments to realise their visions for manufacturing of aircraft parts, research and development, and training of executives and technicians. It will also expand its partnerships with the regional universities.

The company has customers in 150 countries, employing 170,000 globally. It has 20,000 suppliers and contractors throughout the world as well as relationships with 50 universities including in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“The Middle East is critically important not just about business and support of customers but also in terms of the future of aviation. We have 3,000 employees across the Middle East concentrated in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait, Dubai, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other places. Our vision is to build an ecosystem in the region, invest in R&D to develop industrial partnerships to support manufacturing and to grow capacity in commercial and defence space,” Nelson said during a media briefing.

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As part of its growing regional ties, Boeing and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies, signed a deal in October to propel the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in the UAE and globally. The partnership aims to further support the commercial aviation industry’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

On Sunday, Boeing projected that the Middle East airlines’ fleet will more than double over the next two decades and nearly half — 45 per cent — of them would be widebody planes as demand for travel is set to grow exponentially as the region will see more aviation hubs.

According to Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) forecast released on Sunday, the global aviation industry will need 2,277,000 new personnel, of which the Middle East and Africa will account for 13 per cent, or 296,000, by 2042.

“We are actively looking at other things to undertake in Saudi Arabia and in other parts of the region, which need 3,000-plus aircraft over the next 20 years, 58,000 pilots and a similar number of technicians and nearly 100,000 crews,” he added.

He added that demand for aircraft will remain strong in this part of the world on the back of the 100 million tourist target by Saudi Arabia and the expansion of the overall regional economies.

He revealed that the company, which employs 5,500 people in India and is also in the process of setting up a $200 million facility in Bengaluru, will continue to invest in India as well.


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