Conference highlights Abu Dhabi's aviation ambitions

Conference highlights Abu Dhabi's aviation ambitions

19.03.2007: Conference highlights Abu Dhabi's aviation ambitions

Aviation Procurement and Finance Conference attracts world’s leading industry experts to the emirate

H.H. Dr Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan (centre) with James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways (left) at the opening of APEX.

Plans to establish Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s most sophisticated aviation gateways came under the spotlight today as a major aviation conference opened in the UAE capital.

Attracting delegates and speakers from airlines around the world and sponsored by Boeing, the Aviation Procurement and Finance Conference was officially opened by the event’s patron, H.H. Dr Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman of Etihad Airways and the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO).

The three-day conference, taking place in the state-of-the-art Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is part of the Aviation Procurement Expo (APEX), an important new initiative to assist the ambitious expansion plans of Etihad Airways, create a world-class international airport in Abu Dhabi and reinforce the emirate’s position as a major aircraft maintenance and repair hub.

Etihad, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines with a current US$8 billion order for 29 new aircraft, has far-reaching plans to expand its international route network with passenger levels expected to grow from 3 million in 2006 to 4 million by the end of this year. Etihad’s expansion is being matched by a US$6.8 billion airport re-development project recently launched by the newly formed Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC).

Already well established as a major international aircraft maintenance and repair hub through GAMCO, Abu Dhabi also has a number of new aviation sector support facilities in the pipeline. Air France Industries is to open a Logistics Centre to handle Boeing and Airbus components, while Lufthansa is teaming with Amiri Flight to launch a VIP Maintenance Centre.

The Aviation Procurement and Finance Conference focuses on procurement issues facing modern airlines and features presentations by heads of procurement and finance from major airlines around the world as well as industry experts and consultants.

Sheikh Ahmed was accompanied by the organisers, as he cut the ribbon to officially open the event. He then gave a welcome address to the 200 delegates from international airlines and related industry sectors before listening to opening remarks delivered by a senior representative of ADAC, on Abu Dhabi’s aviation vision.

James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, gave the keynote speech in which he discussed the role of the UAE’s national airline within the emirate’s overall aviation vision and revealed how its strategy for the future was aligned with Abu Dhabi’s economic, social and cultural development.

Other speakers today included John Matthews of Boeing Capital Corporation, speaking on the current state of aircraft finance, and Neil Miller of global corporate law firm Norton Rose on Shariah compliant financing of aircraft. Day two will include a presentation by Silla Maizey, Head of Procurement and Finance Operations for British Airways, outlining the strategic value of streamlining procurement for airlines. On the final day a workshop run by the UK-based Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply will look at risk management and negotiation strategies in purchasing.

Laith Kubba of Streamline Marketing Group said: "APEX has been launched to support the development of Etihad, ADAC and GAMCO and is a forum for key officials from major airlines and related industry sectors around the world to share their expertise in aviation procurement. The event also includes an exhibition of nearly 70 top aviation suppliers allowing the three organisations to view and test new products and services on their doorstep." 


- Lucy Wray / Tony Lewis; Total Communications Dubai, also photo -


19.03.2007 / MaP

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