Al-Ain aerospace manufacturer Strata plans to build a second plant to manufacture vertical fins for for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

This is in addition to an expansion of their first plant to reach 10 production lines, scheduled for completion in 2020.

The second facility will be two to three times bigger, but have fewer production lines and the vertical fins are a larger, more complex and more critical to supply chains. The plant will be highly automated.

Strata already employs 650 people manufacturing aircraft parts in Al-Ain.

“There will be new opportunities for local start-ups to be integrated into our supply chain,” said Badr al-Olama, CEO of Strata and senior vice-president of Mubadala Aerospace, at MEED’s Abu Dhabi Energy, Industry and Infrastructure Conference on 8 December. “We are working with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to support them in qualifying with Boeing, and with off-taking, for services such as cleaning and maintenance to reduce our logistics costs.”

He also praised initiatives that allowed cleaning and maintenance services to be undertaken in the local area not Europe.

Strata, which manages supply chains and systems to deliver parts to airline companies, is also looking to manufacture in North Africa, Europe and North America to more closely integrate with aerospace supply chains and reduce costs.

“We are not looking at competing countries but competing supply chains. We need to compete with other regional value chains so protectionism doesn’t help us,” said Al-Olama. “The focus and investment should be on innovation and looking for efficiencies, not protecting uncompetitive sectors.”

Strata is working with Abu Dhabi sustainable developer Masdar to create portable infrared thermography. The handheld device currently in development would save costs and make Strata’s supply chain more competitive.