BOEING IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Courting the region

21 November 2005
Boeing is working hard on building up its relationships in the Middle East, notably in the education and high-tech sectors. In 2003, the company launched the first Aviation Safety e-learning curriculum at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, which provides its Aeronautical Engineering department with safety training for students and customers from Saudi Arabian Airlines and the Royal Saudi Air Force. Boeing also has a stake in the local Al-Salaam Aircraft Company, an aircraft modification, maintenance and repair facility for the support of commercial and military fixed and rotary wing aircraft, which is also providing jobs for Saudi citizens. In 1985, the Boeing Industrial Technology Group (BITG) was set up to implement Peace Shield programme offset obligations to the Royal Saudi Air Force. 'Sponsored by the Economic Offset Committee, the Peace Shield offset programme comprises venture companies [including Al-Salaam] owned by Saudi investors and a team of Peace Shield contractors led by BITG,' Boeing says.

In the UAE, Boeing is working with the Higher Colleges of Technology on internship programmes, technical presentations and executive visits and briefings, as part of its bid to encourage UAE nationals to seek training and careers in the aviation industry. Further north, the Australian College of Kuwait is the focus of aviation maintenance and electro-mechanical engineering programmes, part of a project for the provision of specialised aviation and engineering equipment and advanced technology transfer, while in Egypt AMIDEAST, an American educational non-profit organisation, offers Boeing scholarships for young Egyptian engineers to win Project Management Institute certificates.

In July, Connexion by Boeing announced Etihad Airways as the region's launch customer for its in-flight broadband service. The internet and live TV service will be installed in both in-line and retrofit configurations on the airline's fleet of new aircraft, including five new 777-300ERs, for launch in January 2006. Connexion by Boeing says it is also in discussion to equip other regional fleets.

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