ABU DHABI / WAM
Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Mubadala’s Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer, has said that despite prevailing economic challenges, the UAE will continue with its long term diversification plan, and will continue to think in terms of decades rather than months or years, describing the country as an “oasis of security in this region.”
Speaking at the opening of the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, he emphasised the importance of innovation and partnership for economic diversification and defined how moving away from oil and gas has always been part of the UAE’s strategy and vision.
“Industries such as aerospace and aviation remain to be key drivers for such divergence,” he said. Al Mubarak reiterated the UAE’s deep and lasting commitment to these industries as keepers of its economic mission, and added that the current economic climate reinforces and strengthens the UAE’s focus on these areas.
Al Mubarak said, “It is critical for any business to reflect on economic challenges, as well as those on the horizon. No globally focused business can be immune to the current economic conditions. What is critical is how you react to these challenges. The UAE has always, and will continue to plan, in terms of decades, rather than months or years.”
He added that as CEO of Mubadala, which is hosting the summit and one of the vehicles established to drive economic diversification across a range of strategic sectors, the messages he received from the UAE’s leadership reinforce one key strategic message which is, “Operational efficiency is always vital in the face of volatility, but our strategic direction remains clear and our long-term focus remains intact,” he said.
For his part, James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, the summit’s official airline, explained the airline’s strategy and vision and how it has always reflected a culture of collaboration. He said that the creation of Etihad Airways has been about innovation, diversification and taking advantage of a global market through codeshares, alliances and investments.
“Our partnerships with pioneering firms such as Masdar, Boeing, Total, IBM and SAP have opened up major opportunities for us by working as one source across the Aviation Group. For us it’s about economic and operational cooperation and looking at synergies that focus on guest experience and choice. Innovation such as The Residence was a result of a seven-year research and development programme led by Etihad Design Consortium which today has changed the flying experience,” he said.
Hogan went on to explain, “Other examples of innovation include our work with Masdar on fog prediction, our new digital innovation programme and the fact that we are developing the very best guest experience for our new home – the Midfield Terminal Building. We are working with technology experts to develop smarter maintenance and smarter baggage systems. No one has the monopoly on innovation – ideas can occur anywhere in the organisation by anyone. We must stay flexible and agile – in a world growing at different rates. The Global Aerospace Summit gives us a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and think about new solutions to challenges and we are delighted to welcome industry leaders to Abu Dhabi.”
Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency also speaking, said, “We see space as a key element for diversification and transformation of our economy from a resources based economy to a knowledge based economy, and we’re already well along that road. The UAE Space Agency recognises the importance of space exploration in the greater context of advancing humanities legacy. We are firm believers in working together with all competent entities in the field of space towards the common goal of fostering the well-being of humankind.
“The development of space technologies and the space sector are catalysts for economic development and diversification. It creates job opportunities and allows us to enable scientists and engineers to become pioneers of an industry that can bring huge benefits to our daily lives. Many technologies that we use today stem from the developments made within the space industry,” he added.
Around 1,000 C-level executives and from 59 countries attended the first day of the two-day summit to discuss the most pressing issues and trends within the aviation, aerospace, space and defence industries.
Organised by Streamline Marketing Group, the summit is an invitation-only strategic forum, covering a wide-range of topics including globalisation, workforce challenges, air traffic management, safety and sustainability.
This year’s event is part of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Aviation and Aerospace Week, which is held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Abu Dhabi Airports is supporting the summit which is being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
UAE to continue long-term diversification focus
ABU DHABI / WAM