Marwan Lahoud, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Airbus Group, yesterday said the company is to deliver 30 commercial aircrafts to UAE carriers Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Air Arabia.
Speaking on the side-lines of the International Defence Exhibition, IDEX, the Chief Strategy Officer also said that the UAE is considered one of the Group's biggest clients, making up around 20 percent of its Middle East market. He added that the region as a whole is a tremendous market for the aerospace giant's activities.
"If there is one region in the world where you have both that have risen to the climax, huge economic growth coupled with tremendous need for security, this region is an ideal platform for Airbus Group's activities," he said.
Mr Lahoud added that the Middle East accounts for more than 20 percent of the company's orders globally, and with a delivery rate of one out of five for commercial, and one out of five for defence – in the next couple of years - the region is considered an excellent prototype area to build and grow business and partnerships.
Lahoud went on to say that the company has not witnessed any changes in its defence aircraft sales despite the recent volatile situation in the region.
He explained, "It has been a constant evolution since 2000. We saw a steep increase in 2006 and it has stabilised since.
"We are in a very long cycle activity. When you order an aircraft, or helicopter, we are talking about years which are not affected by shorter-term fluctuations. On the other hand, if these changes were to last, then we might see something," he added.
In terms of airbus commercial, the UAE is the Group's number one customer in the Middle East. "If we take airbus commercial, it is clear that in terms of airlines in the Gulf, the three big ones, the UAE as a country is the largest customer," he said.
Airbus Group has a broader vision in terms of its aspirations of being part of the development in the region, through building industry, creating highly qualified jobs, and providing employment.
He explained, "Through our strong and positive presence that goes back more than four decades in the region, we have created strategic partnerships to provide assistance, training and support by building local entities, creating jobs, and contributing to local economic development. The regional governments are working to develop a knowledge based economy and this is an area where we as a Group play a role in supporting current and future talent." "We talk about markets but fundamentally what is happening now is that the industry is shifting. What was built in Europe is now shifting here and this is something we would like to stress," he said, pointing to the prospects of starting a full-fledged production in the region.
Speaking about Strata Manufacturing PJSC, Strata, the advanced composite aerostructures manufacturing facility wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company, Mr Lahoud said that it is among the top 10 of aerostructure suppliers in Middle East and North Africa.
"Strata is a partnership example which we developed to participate in the fulfilment of the vision of the country. Our contribution is to support in creating jobs and opportunities. Our intention is to contribute to the economic development of the region," he concluded.