Industrial and Academic Partnerships
As a company with a global footprint, Boeing sees growing aspirations for increased skills and technology development in countries around the world, and the UAE is a prime example. The company’s industrial collaboration with the Mubadala Development Company, Tawazun Precision Industries and Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) reflect Boeing support of UAE’s ambitions to diversify its economy and increase job opportunities for citizens. The partnerships also underline Boeing’s desire not only to do more business in the Middle East region but also to bring enhanced capabilities into the company.
Boeing views Mubadala, Tawazun and EDIC as long-term strategic partners and is committed to supporting their ambitions to develop advanced aerospace and defense capabilities. The intent of Boeing’s strategic framework agreements with Mubadala, developed since 2009, is to develop mutually beneficial initiatives in areas where there is strategic alignment between the two companies. These focus areas include composite manufacturing; engineering, research and development; commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul; military maintenance and sustainment; pilot training; and people development.
In April 2012, Boeing and Mubadala announced a 10-year direct contract for Strata Manufacturing — Mubadala’s advanced composite aerostructures facility in Al Ain — to produce commercial composite aerostructures for the 777 and the 787 Dreamliner. Strata currently manufactures ribs for the empennage of the 777 and vertical fin ribs for the 787 Dreamliner. In 2014, Strata’s first shipset of empennage ribs was installed in a 777-300ER (Extended Range) that was delivered to Emirates Airline. In 2015, Strata’s first shipset of 787 vertical fin ribs was installed in a 787-9 Dreamliner delivered to Etihad Airways. At the 2016 Farnborough Air Show, the companies announced that Strata would expand its work statement for Boeing as a supplier of the 787 vertical fin, a major composite assembly for Boeing’s most advanced airplane program. Additionally, Boeing agreed to source pre-impregnated composite materials for the new 777X from a new, UAE-based joint venture created by Mubadala and Solvay, making Boeing their first customer.
Also, Boeing is supporting UAE’s research and development objectives to ensure sustainable growth of its booming aerospace industry. In 2016, Boeing and Mubadala announced an agreement for Boeing to support bilateral research projects conducted at Khalifa University and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Boeing signed a partnership with Tawazun Precision Industries (TPI), an EDIC subsidiary, to establish a new aerospace surface treatment facility in Abu Dhabi. The certified, state-of-the-art facility will enable TPI to produce complex metallic assemblies for Boeing, its suppliers and other aerospace manufacturers worldwide. At the 2015 Dubai Airshow, TPI and Boeing announced the first award of complex metallic machined parts for Boeing tactical aircraft to be built at TPI’s new facility. In 2019, Tawazun, Boeing and TPI celebrated the opening of TPI’s all-new aerospace surface treatment facility in Abu Dhabi.
Boeing has also worked with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP to establish the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), a partnership to develop sustainable available biofuel in the UAE as part of Boeing’s global effort to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. Boeing and its research partners, which include Takreer oil refinery, made breakthroughs in sustainable aviation biofuel development, finding that desert plants fed by seawater produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks. In March 2017, SBRC began testing the findings at the world’s first bioenergy research facility, which is located on a five-acre site at Masdar City, a low-carbon, low-waste sustainable urban development in Abu Dhabi. In January 2019, Etihad flew the first commercial flight using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
An active supporter of academic initiatives in the country, Boeing has partnered with Khalifa University, UAE University and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) on various educational programs. Boeing supports their engineering programs through capstone projects, scholarships and research as well as guest lectures whenever possible.
Also, high-potential professionals from UAE, selected by Boeing customers and partners, have attended leadership programs at the Boeing Leadership Center in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the seventh year Boeing has provided mentoring to students at two campuses of the Higher Colleges of Technology: the Abu Dhabi and Khalifa City women’s campuses. The program is a Boeing-developed, UAE-based mentorship program focused on leadership skills and exposure to the private sector. This successful and impactful program will continue to grow to include more students.
Boeing will continue establishing strong and enduring partnerships in the Middle East through human capital development programs as well as technology and knowledge transfer. The company is continuously exploring opportunities to reinforce its partnerships to bring mutual and long-term benefits, while enhancing the region’s aviation sector.