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Wed 20 Jun 2007 11:00 AM

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DAE may invest in Airbus plants

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise says it is interested in working with the European planemaker.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) may look to invest in a number of Airbus plants, DAE’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Bob Johnson said DAE would be interested in working with the European aircraft manufacturer, but would not comment on whether the two companies were currently in talks over a possible investment.

“Over time we would like to be in that business,” Johnson told Dow Jones.

As part of restructuring Airbus is undergoing, it is actively looking for companies to invest in some of its European plants.

DAE would seem like a prime candidate as it is on a major expansion drive as it attempts to boost Dubai’s aerospace industry and establish the emirate as a hub for the maintenance and repair of aircraft.

Johnson’s comments come just days after DAE signed a deal with Airbus’ US rival Boeing.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday to collaborate in the areas of aircraft services, customer education, financing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

Earlier this month, DAE's planned $1.8 billion takeover of two US aviation companies came under fire from Democrats in the US Senate, who claimed the sale "raised security questions".

Politicians' reaction to the deal mirror concerns raised last year when Dubai's state-owned DP World acquired a number of US ports, which it later sold, through its purchase of P&O.

DAE's deal still needs US government approval, and is likely to face opposition when it comes up for debate in Washington.

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