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6 March, 2006 - 17:00 By Staff Reporter

Middle East turns to Cranfield team

A Middle East venture to create the world’s largest aviation hub and tackle a £228bn aviation market has turned to Cranfield University to provide the expertise needed to underpin the hub’s specialist aerospace training institute.

A Middle East venture to create the world’s largest aviation hub and tackle a £228bn aviation market has turned to Cranfield University to provide the expertise needed to underpin the hub’s specialist aerospace training institute.

The newly-formed Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) recently announced plans to invest £8.6m in creating a world-leading aerospace research, development and manufacturing centre, which will include the DAE University, an aerospace institute and R & D facility.

The new United Arab Emirates’ university will be located within the DAE site at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Airport City on the Persian Gulf. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Cranfield University will play a key role in the institute, which will provide a wide range of academic degrees and apprenticeship programmes and is expected to be fully developed by 2015, when 8,000 students a year will pass through its doors.

Cranfield, which will maintain an ‘on-site’ presence at DAE University, will participate in initiating and overseeing postgraduate research and with DAE University will put together a joint academic team to determine details of its offering and develop a roll-out schedule.

The first key partnership with Cranfield University targets specifically higher academic education, enabling DAE university to offer a complete range of Cranfield-supported aerospace subjects and MsC/PhD degrees.

DAE University will closely follow the established Cranfield model, principally offering advanced and research degree courses in aerospace and aviation.

Cranfield will be fully involved with DAE in structuring the courses and establishing criteria for student selection and staff recruitment.

It will draw on its existing knowledge base and the cutting edge expertise that has led to it becoming established as one of the premier global educational institutions in its sector to create the necessary course materials to successfully offer Continuing Profess-ional Development, Master and PhD programmes.

Cranfield will also deliver its own branded awards and validation for degrees based on its curriculum but awarded in Dubai and meeting Dubai Ministry of Education requirements.

DAE’s managing director, Dr Mohammed Al Zarouni, said: “DAE University is an important foundation stone of DAE’s master plan that will see the creation of an aerospace powerhouse with its base in Dubai. The University is absolutely fundamental to the overall plan and will provide a stream of highly skilled, superbly trained and very able professionals from the region to support the developing industry.

“It is crucial that we are able to provide the means to enable homegrown talent to develop at home. Equally, we are proud to offer a facility that will contribute to the region’s resources and add value to its human capital.

“The investment is an investment for the future of the aerospace industry in the region and for the future of our people who will have access to a form of advanced and specialised training that would previously have been very difficult to come by.”

Dr Paul Marshall, head of Cranfield University Aero-space, said: “DAE University is certain to rapidly become one of the leading educational institutions of its type anywhere in the world.

“There is genuine commitment from the founders, for all the right reasons, and this is supported by the strength of the demand in the region for just such a resource.

“We welcome this opportunity to participate in what I am convinced will soon come to be regarded as one of the defining developments in aerospace this century. It puts the extension of the global industry on a solid footing and will add to the research and knowledge on which this industry – far more than most – relies.”

Driven by six operational subsidiaries involved in manufacturing and services across 14 industry segments, DAE is the holding company for the enterprise and was launched just a couple of weeks ago and has been launched against a background of unprecedented growth in the regional aviation market.

The Cranfield partnership is the first of several intended strategic alliances with leading aerospace operators as it progressively steps up its bid to become a significant presence in the global industry.

DAE chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “Within 10 years, DAE will become an integral part of the global aerospace industry and a leading player.”

According to a feasibility study conducted by leading management consultancy, AT Kearney, the Middle East has become the leading buyer of aircraft internationally and together with Asia will account for three out of every five wide-body aircraft delivered in the next several years.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “We are right at the heart of the most dynamic part of the aerospace industry and ideally positioned to shape the trends that will decide the future of the sector. With the forthcoming Jebel Ali airport complex we will have one of the aviation world’s greatest facilities.

“DAE will build on what has been achieved and move it to the next level.”

Further studies by AT Kearney project that airlines operating in the Gulf region are expected to nearly double their fleets in the next few years. Airline passenger traffic in the Middle East and Asia – especially China – is expected to grow as much as nine per cent a year for the next 10 years, reaching 1.7 billion passengers by 2015.

Annual air freight growth is also expected to grow at more than six per cent a year. India and China alone plan more than 145 airport projects over the next 10 years – including greenfield builds, expansions and upgrades. This growth will drive the rapid expansion of DAE.

Initially, DAE will target the $100bn (£57bn) global airport development and operations, aircraft leasing and financing, and specialist aerospace education and training segments.

Backed by the government of Dubai and leading Dubai based companies Dubai International Capital, Emaar, Istithmar, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Amlak Finance and the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA), DAE will progress through a series of phases to establish an integrated aerospace industry cluster.

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