The aerospace industry may have a high barrier to entry, but Dubai Aerospace Enterprise's (DAE) $15 billion war chest ought to help it get off the ground. Founded in 2006 by the oil-rich emirate of Dubai, the company is creating an aerospace powerhouse from the ground up operating through three divisions: DAE Capital (aircraft leasing, financing, and insurance), DAE Engineering (MRO services and conversions), and DAE Services (technology-based products and services). Customers include Air New Zealand, Emirates Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kingfisher Airlines, WestJet, and Emirates SkyCargo, to name a few. Its fleet is comprised of Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
DAE plans to develop its business in phases to create an integrated aerospace cluster. Because it is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Dubai is geographically positioned to establish markets in both regions. It holds a better hand than its competitors because it is the first and largest aerospace entity in the region and because it works in tandem with other Dubai-based companies. DAE believes its success will draw other aerospace-related companies to consider starting up or expanding operations in the Middle East.
The company will base itself at Dubai World Central, an almost 90-sq.-mi. airport, which is being built in Jebel Ali, Dubai; the new aviation center will help accommodate the 50 superjumbo A380 jets Dubai's Emirates airline has on order from Airbus. The company has also ordered 70 A320s and 30 A350s, which will be delivered between 2013 and 2022. The investment hopes to lure more well-heeled jet-setters to Dubai's mecca of luxury shopping, leisure, and entertainment.
In September 2009 DAE's StandardAero subsidiary began a 27,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its Winnipeg facility to accommodate WestJet's fleet of CFM56-7 engines that power their fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. StandardAero, along with Landmark Aviation -- both MRO companies -- were purchased from The Carlyle Group in 2007 and were made part of DAE's Engineering division. DAE and Boeing are contracted to work together to develop Dubai's aerospace industry, with specific focus on aircraft MRO services and financing.
On the heels of landing an $800 million three-year term loan in January 2009, DAE has not denied that it is considering a public offering as an option for additional financing, but has made no specific plans. The company was initiated by the Dubai government, but remains a private entity with public and private shareholders. DAE's principal investors include Investment Corporation of Dubai (Dubai government investment arm), Dubai International Capital (private and public equity investment firm), Dubai International Financial Centre (global finance), EMAAR (real estate), Istithmar World (Dubai World investment arm), and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (Dubai government-owned tech hub).