The Middle East continued yesterday to stamp its authority on the show with a deal that will see Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (hall3, A50) become the world's first maintenance, repair and overhaul provider for General Electric GEnx engines.
The move is part of a plan by ADAT parent and state-owned investment house Mubadala to establish Abu Dhabi as a global MRO hub. This in turn fits into a wider strategy to attract high-tech investment and build a domestic aerospace sector in the United Arab Emirates.
Mubadala signed a strategic partnership with the US engine-maker last year, which included co-operation on commercial finance, training and clean energy research and development.
Mubadala Aerospace associate director Homaid Al Shemmari says the relationship could develop into the Abu Dhabi company building original equipment components for GE Aviation. "We are interested in the energy and technology industries. We are hoping we can solidify and deliver on this partnership to open further OE opportunities," he says.
As well as ADAT, Mubadala has a stake in Swiss-based MRO house SR Technics and says that company would also benefit from the GE tie-up.
Mubadala has been expanding its interests in the aerospace and automotive industries, with shareholdings in Ferrari and Piaggio Aerospace, the Italian manufacturer of the Avanti twin-pusher business prop. It plans to co-operate with Piaggio on building a small business aircraft in Abu Dhabi by 2018.
Al Shemmari says all Mubadala's global investments are linked to bringing technology back to the Emirates, where it wants to diversify the economy from its reliance on oil and provide engineering and managerial careers for its school-leavers and graduates.
Also this week, Mubadala subsidiary Abu Dhabi Airports announced plans to establish an aerospace cluster at the airport in Abu Dhabi's second city Al Ain, anchored by a factory designing and manufacturing composite components for Airbus and other manufacturers. Several European companies have signed up to open premises at the site.