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Dubai's aerospace hub set to attract $4.6bn investment by 2030

CEO of Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub sees opportunities as aviation industry struggle to cope with coronavirus impact

Plans to further develop the region's first aerospace hub in Dubai are gathering pace with $4 billion of investments planned.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) will be fully completed by 2030 and represents a $680 million investment so far from the government and private sector, according to Tahnoon Saif, CEO of MBRAH, in an interview with state news agency WAM.

He said that the ultimate investment in MBRAH is expected to reach $4.63 billion by 2030.

MBRAH, based in Dubai South, is expected to create more opportunities in the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) sector as some airlines want to focus on their core business and liquidate their engineering elements in the current challenging business environment, he said.

Talking about the plan to complete the development of MBRAH by 2030 and potential challenges in aerospace industry caused by the global pandemic, Saif added: "Responding to market changes is very important but the speed of our response and adapting with new realities is more important for us. We developed 70 percent of the infrastructure with flexibilities to accommodate new solutions that might evolve.

"The airline industry will take a while to recover; however, we are enhancing our value proposition and leveraging our network and access to the world through cargo terminals and Jabel Ali sea port."

Established in 2017 as Dubai’s Aviation District and rebranded as MBRAH in 2019, it is home commercial, freight, business jets, and aircraft maintenance operations and offers 100 percent free zone benefits and services.

The hub already hosts big players like Emirates Pilot Training Academy, Lufthansa Technik and General Electric.

Saif told WAM that as airlines around the world look for cost-effective solutions across their businesses in the current economic climate, the CEO hopes that it will open new opportunities for the bub’s services in MRO.

"We are expecting a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the maintenance business over the next 12 months or so, especially given that some companies will want to focus on their core airline business and liquidate their engineering elements," he said.

"We intend talking to acquirers of companies – the large-sized companies that typically acquire smaller ones to achieve scale and cost-efficiencies – this will enable us forge ahead with our strategy to increase market share. We will present our value proposition, leveraging our location, which is a great advantage that works in our favor compared with other regional hubs," he added.

He said the benefits of positioning aircraft for maintenance within Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South far outweigh the high cost base of airports around the world.

"So in terms of service offering, we have the infrastructure and remain relentless in targeting key players from around the world," he said.

Regarding the key projects in MBRAH, Saif said progress is being made on a VIP heliport with Air Chateau for multiple operators while a new hangar and maintenance facilities for Execujet are expected to be up and running within the next 18 months.

"Also we signed with an investor to set up a luxury vault to store and safeguard high valued items. Such facilities are well established in Europe and Asia but not in the Middle East," he added.

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