Strata to make $80 million worth of Airbus aircraft parts this year

MIAMI // Strata, a Mubadala-owned company, will make parts worth US$80 million for Airbus this year and is expected to eventually produce composite parts for the A350 and A320, the chief executive of Airbus said.

Al Ain-based Strata, which was established in 2010, manufactures parts for Airbus, including wing tips for its A330/340 and flap tracks for its A380 superjumbo.

“There is a high level of skill and know-how in Abu Dhabi. This is the first step,” Fabrice Brégier, the president and chief executive of Airbus, said in an interview at the International Air Travel Association’s annual meeting in Miami last week.

“The next step is growing a step further. … We have plans to grow further to move to composite production parts on the A350 and A320 and we are in discussions for that.”

Mr Brégier did not specify when Strata would start making parts for the A350 and A320, but said: “This is complex. You don’t just become a key top player in aerospace. It takes a lot of time, it takes cash, it takes effort.”

“I think for Strata it will take them until about 2020 to become [one of the] top players.”

Strata also supplies composite components for Airbus’ US rival Boeing’s 777 and 787 models.

Earlier this week, Boeing delivered a 787-9 Dreamliner to Etihad Airways with vertical fin ribs made by Strata.

At Dubai’s Airshow in November, Strata won deals with Airbus and Boeing worth US$5 billion to make parts for their airplanes — including Boeing’s proposed 777X.

Strata is part of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision, which counts on aviation and aerospace to play a significant role in supporting the economy, as the emirate aims to diversify its economy away from oil.

Separately, the European plane maker’s chief executive said that Airbus was waiting for Emirates to “reveal its requirements”, for the A350 aircraft, as the Dubai-based carrier is expected to decide on buying either the A350-900 or the Boeing 787-10 before the end of the year.

Airbus took a hit last year when Emirates, the A380’s biggest client, cancelled a massive order of 70 A350 aircraft. The deal was worth $16bn, according to 2007 book prices. Emirates said at the time that it would like to see the A350 operating before making a final decision.

“Emirates knows the A350 perfectly well because it was initially a customer. In the meantime, it wanted to see the A350 flying, which it is flying extremely well,” said Mr Brégier.

“So if the level of maturity is good and the performance is there, so it will bring good confidence that the A350 can be a great complement to Emirates’ fleet,” he added.

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