As Abu Dhabi leaders deal with their most pressing problem — the dwindling of their staple economic booster, oil — they are delving into new industries to keep the capital city afloat after the oil is gone. Among their plans are attracting tourists and building up their manufacturing sector.At the Dubai Airshow this week, boosting their manufacturing was a top priority. In order to help offset the costs of a number of aircraft ordered from the civil airplane builders Airbus and Boeing, executives from several Abu Dhabi companies made agreements to supply the aircraft builders with a number of composite parts and machine metals.
Boeing executives denied that outsourcing these supply chains would affect any domestic jobs, particularly at the manufacturing facilities which supply composite parts for the Boeing 777 and 787 are made. The deals with executives in Abu Dhabi are going to benefit a largely female workforce, located in the remote area of Al-Ain.
Though Boeing has not said so openly, increasing difficulties with labor unions in the United States is making it harder for the manufacturer to stay competitive with domestic facilities. Just last week, the machinists’ union in Washington state rejected a contract which would have kept their jobs. These workers would have been building parts for the 777x.
According to Boeing executives, the plan all along was to diversity suppliers around the globe. Abu Dhabi is a motivated partner, because the country is going for the goal of becoming the third largest such supplier internationally, and is in competition with larger and more experienced suppliers in South Korea and Japan. One of the agreements signed with Abu Dhabi suppliers this week at the airshow triples that company’s size. Economically, this helps the country recoup some of the expenditures on $150 billion in new plane orders placed with Boeing and Airbus this year.