Boeing, an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, aims to sign new contracts with EgyptAir in order to supply more Dreamliner jet airliners for the Egyptian company, as both companies are in ongoing cooperation talks, Bernard J Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (MENAT), informed Daily News Egypt.
“There are some plans for signing future sales’ contracts with EgyptAir after the Egyptian flag carrier airline recognised the advantages of our Dreamliner jets, and will put them into operation after next March. Hopefully, we will provide EgyptAir with more Dreamliner jets as they to be of proved high quality,” mentioned Dunn.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Dunn; Tim Buerk, Boeing Global Services’ (BGS) director for Middle East and Africa; and Paul Curlett, senior manager at Boeing for international government services, during EDEX 2018, Egypt’s first tri-service defence exhibition covering air, land, and sea, held from 3 to 5 December, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
Dunn: I had the honour of welcoming President Al-Sisi at Boeing’s pavilion in EDEX 2018, and showed him some of our products. We are in ongoing talks with the Egyptian armed forces to boost cooperation and supply the required equipment. I was very honoured to have a short conversation with the president about this issue.
Are there any updates regarding the company’s plans to open a local office in Egypt?
Our plans for opening a local office in Egypt are still alive. We just need to sign a couple of deals first that will allow us to move this step forward.
Would you please elaborate about your plans to open a STEM education centre in Egypt?
We implement an extensive programme called the Boeing Global Engagement (BGE) which primarily focuses on community engagement activities. It comes in line with the company’s commitment towards giving something back to the world markets in which we work.
We gradually increased our BGE work in Egypt during the last two years, as we aim to focus on this market and give it the attention that it always deserves. Meanwhile, we are proud to launch a new edition of the BGE programme, which is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) centre.
It comes in conjunction with the World Learning Organisation, a non-profit international entity which focuses on knowledge, education, and exchanging programmes.
Boeing will allocate a special budget for the STEM Centre in 2019. We expect that it will include 12,000 young people in its first year.
Where will you establish the STEM Centre?
We have not yet chosen the centre’s location. However, it will be in Cairo because it will suitable for us.
Do you plan to open more STEM Centres in other governorates?
Yes, we have plans to expand our STEM Centres nationwide but after the first year. We plan to inaugurate three STEM Centres over the next three years. The first will be in Cairo, the second will likely be in Alexandria, and the third one’s location is still under discussion.
What is the expected budget for the planned STEM Centres?
I cannot tell you how much it will be exactly, but it will be large and last until 2021, which illustrates Boeing’s confidence in the market.
What are Boeing’s goals for establishing STEM Centres?
The concept of STEM Centres is to provide a place for young people where they can learn about STEM through interactive online activities, which they can access under the supervision of the centre’s staff. STEM is one of the BGE’s main pillars around the world. It is also a field that President Al-Sisi works on promoting in Egypt. The president wants his citizens to be technologically trained, and capable of working in aviation, as well as other high-tech industries.
I also talked with various civil society leaders in Egypt, and they would love to see the day when Egyptians can work in international companies like Boeing. The STEM Centre will help to discover young talents and support them with STEM education to change their lives for the better.
Do you coordinate with the Egyptian education ministry regarding STEM Centres?
Sure, we are coordinating with the ministry of education and they are very supportive. Boeing will bear all the expenses of the STEM Centres, without burdening the Egyptian government. The STEM Centres’ target students aged 12-16. The curriculum will be provided in cooperation with World Learning.
What are the latest developments of Boeing’s other activities, including those with INJAZ Egypt?
We are implementing other programmes with INJAZ Egypt; the Education For Employment (EFE), a leading youth employment organisation; and the Al-Nour Wal Amal Association (Light and Hope), where we are helping blind ladies to become musicians.
Our cooperation with INJAZ is going very well. We have reached out to a large number of people and helped them to create their own companies during the last two years. Our programmes in Egypt are actually very successful. Egyptian youth are so enthusiastic and desirous.
What about the company’s cooperation with Egyptian universities?
We have a partnership with Cairo University over the last two years. We are in talks with Ain Shams University and Alexandria University over more cooperation agreements. We would definitely like to expand our activities in Egyptian universities similar to the STEM concept which can be a good way to reach out to young people and prepare them for the labour market.
Are there any updates regarding the cooperation with EgyptAir?
EgyptAir is our customer and we are keen on keeping continuous discussions about sales, services, and everything they need. We are in ongoing talks with EgyptAir. We have some plans for future sales contracts.
EgyptAir will add new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets to its fleet next year. The Egyptian flag carrier airline recognised the advantages of our Dreamliner jets and will put them in operation after next March. Hopefully, we will provide EgyptAir with more Dreamliner jets as they proved to be of high quality. Boeing and AerCap announced during the 2017 Dubai Airshow that EgyptAir will lease six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets.
How do you assess the cooperation with the MENAT region in 2018? And what are the company’s 2019 plans?
There are many regional economic and political changes. This is something everybody is aware of. We are in touch with all of our partners and customers. We have sales contracts of about 2,990 new commercial airplanes in this region over the next 20 years. It shows the need for about 63,000 new pilots and 67,000 new technicians as well as 92,000 air crew. It is a growing market.
On 17 July, Boeing lifted its long-term forecast for commercial airplanes as rising passenger traffic and upcoming airplane retirements drove the need for 42,730 new jets – valued at $6.3tn – over the next 20 years. The global airplane fleet will also sustain growing demand for commercial aviation services, leading to a total market opportunity of $15tn.
For defence industries, the Middle East is always a good market, and we have strong coordination with all of our customers
What are the top five regional airlines which purchase your airplanes?
Boeing respects all its customers. However, the top five airlines are Emirates, which is currently the world’s largest operator of the 777 and the only airline that operates all the variants of this aircraft; Flydubai with an all-Boeing fleet; Saudi Arabian Airlines, which operates Boeing twin-aisle airplanes; Qatar Airways, which has the largest 787 fleet in the Middle East; and EgyptAir.
Does Boeing have airplane factories in the MENA region?
We are set to launch factories in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. However, most of our manufacturing is done in the United States.
In April 2012, Boeing and Mubadala announced a 10-year direct contract for Strata Manufacturing, an advanced composite aerostructures manufacturing company wholly owned by Mubadala 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) which 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 programme. 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 the UAE’s research and development objectives in order to ensure sustainable growth of its booming aerospace industry. In 2016, Boeing and Mubadala signed an agreement to support bilateral research projects conducted at the Khalifa University and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Boeing signed a partnership with the Tawazun Precision Industries (TPI), an Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) subsidiary, to establish a new aerospace surface treatment facility in Abu Dhabi. The certified, state-of-the-art facility enables the TPI to produce complex metallic assemblies for Boeing, its suppliers, and other aerospace manufacturers worldwide.
At the 2015 Dubai Airshow, the TPI and Boeing announced the first award of complex metallic machined parts for Boeing tactical aircraft to be built at the TPI’s new facility. At the 2017 Dubai Airshow, Tawazun Economic Council and Boeing signed an agreement to expand the UAE’s role by enabling advanced materials manufacturing.
For Saudi Arabia, Boeing signed an agreement in 2015 with Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to create the Saudi Rotorcraft Support Company (SRSC) in the kingdom. The joint venture opened in April 2017 with facilities in Riyadh and Jeddah. Through in-country cooperation, the partner companies focus on expanding the Saudi workforce through the creation of self-sustaining jobs, technical, and aerospace skills development for local workers, and further involvement of the Saudi aerospace supply base. The joint venture supports the kingdom’s commercial and defence rotorcraft platforms, including the AH-64 Apache, the H-47 Chinook, and the AH-6i.
What was the Middle East countries’ reaction towards the Boeing Global Services unit?
Buerk: Our customers were excited about the launch of the Boeing Global Services unit in 2017, Boeing’s newest business unit. It comes in the framework of the world’s largest aerospace company’s commitment to significantly invest in aftermarket service capability innovation. Egypt and the Middle East are priority markets for Boeing Global Services.
Formed by merging the services’ sectors of Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes and Defence, Space, and Security businesses, the Global Services is designed to provide commercial and governmental customers with unprecedented value, and the best experience in the aerospace services industry.
Boeing forecasts that the MENA region’s age of existing military aircraft, and the operating tempo for those platforms, will warrant a $90bn investment in services over the next 10 years. By advancing technologies and systems that support this level of growth, Global Services plans to change the way airplanes and defence systems are operated, upgraded, and maintained throughout the products’ lifecycle.
Curlett: Boeing has a strong platform. We have the best engineers who are capable of providing Boeing’s products and services for both the defence and commercial sectors.