The UAE Begins Building Tails For Boeing 787 Aircraft

On Tuesday, United Arab Emirates composite aerostructures manufacturer Strata announced that it had successfully delivered a 787 vertical fin shipset to Boeing. Made in its expanded facilities Strata Plus in Al Ain, it marks the first Dreamliner vertical fin completely assembled outside of Boeing’s facilities in the US.

The first 787 vertical fin completely assembled outside the US will be installed at Boeing’s North Charleston facilities in early 2021. Photo: Boeing

Made in the UAE

The landmark fin with the slogan “Proudly made in the UAE” will travel from the Middle East across the Atlantic. There it will be installed on the Dreamliner fuselage at Boeing’s North Charleston facility in South Carolina at the beginning of next year.

“This significant milestone highlights Strata’s success in replicating Boeing’s capabilities, reinforcing the strong partnership between our respective entities, and enhances Strata’s position as a trusted partner across the global aerospace supply chain,” Ismail Ali Abdulla, Strata CEO, said in a statement shared with Simple Flying.

So far, Strata has commenced manufacturing of an additional five 787 vertical shipsets at its facilities further inland in the Abu Dhabi emirate.

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Boeing vertical fin UAE delivery
Strata has successfully delivered its first 787 Dreamliner vertical fin, manufactured at the Strata Plus plant in Al Ain. Photo: Strata

Ribs for the 777X

Strata is an advanced composite aero-structures manufacturer that is fully owned by the Mubadala Investment Company. The relationship with Boeing began in 2011 when Strata was first contracted as a Tier 1 supplier for the American planemaker.

Its plant in Nibras Al Ain Aerospace also supplies Boeing with empennage ribs for the 777 and vertical fin ribs for both the 777 and the 787. Furthermore, it manufactures composite empennage ribs for Boeing’s new flagship, the 777X.

Boeing’s decision to award the UAE-manufacturer with the 787 vertical fin contract prompted Strata to launch an expansion of its factory in Al Ain, called Strata Plus. It is currently run by 47 technicians, inspectors, and engineers, 40% of whom are UAE-nationals. Meanwhile, the company aims to have 75 full-time staff at its facilities by the end of 2022.

Boeing 787 vertical fin UAE
The UAE and its individual emirates are looking to the aerospace industry to diversify its economies. Photo: Getty Images

Part of Abu Dhabi’s diversification plans

The Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park is a joint venture between the Mubadala Investment Company and the Abu Dhabi Airport Company. It is located in the southeastern part of the UAE, within the Abu Dhabi emirate. It spans five square kilometers and is home to several aerospace manufacturing and service providers.

Currently, Strata’s neighbors are the military MRO providers AMMROC, Edic Horizon International Flight Academy for helicopters, and AI-drone specialist ADASI.

Strata and Airbus

Boeing is not the only major plane manufacturer working with Strata. The company, part of Abu Dhabi’s plan to turn the emirate into a leading aerospace hub, has been collaborating with Airbus since 2008.

Over that time, it has delivered over 2,300 shipsets and 30,000 components to the European planemaker. These include flap track fairings for the A330 family as well as the A380, flap support fairings,  and inboard flaps for the A350.