Airbus in the Middle East

Airbus is a serious engine for the African and Middle Eastern economies. The company has enjoyed a strong regional presence since it first opened offices there more than four decades ago.

Growing footprint in the region

Airbus Africa & Middle East (AGAME) is responsible for all activities in the region, covering about 3,100 people across sites in Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa and Nigeria, as well as the Group’s sizable presence in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Doha, Qatar and Oman. AGAME is headquartered in Dubai, home to the Airbus A380's largest customer, Emirates.

10% of revenues

Africa and the Middle East together represent 10% of Airbus’ total revenue and up to 23% of the company’s backlog

Airbus' products and services are widely recognised as well-adapted to Africa and the Middle East. Yet the company’s commitment goes beyond selling: It also provides training and support by building local entities, creating jobs in materials and logistics, the supply chain and maintenance operations.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Airbus Foundation has established
a powerful partnership with Emirates and Action Contre la Faim. Within this initiative, the airline regularly utilises A380 deliveries to transport food and aid to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot located in the International Humanitarian City of Dubai. Since 2013, a total of six flights have been coordinated through this partnership.

Driving a global aviation hub

Two-thirds of the world’s population lives within an eight-hour flight of the Middle East, making the region an unrivalled aviation hub and home to some of Airbus’ largest customers. Unsurprisingly, the Middle East is expected to see annual growth of 6% per cent in air traffic over the next 20 years - much higher than the global rate, currently forecast for 4.6% annually.

2,450 new aircraft

Airlines in the region will need more than 2,450 new aircraft over the next 20 years, with around 50,000 skilled technicians to service this growth

Airbus sold its first aircraft in the region in the 1970s and today’s customer base comprises over 40 airlines in nearly 30 Middle Eastern countries.

Almost all of the major carriers in the Middle East have chosen to grow and modernise with Airbus aircraft, with the company signing more than 900 orders. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways all operate the A380 and Qatar Airways was the launch customer for the A350 XWB

A380 Etihad Airways flying
Etihad Airways has been one of the A380 operators in the Middle East region since December 2014.

Saudia Airlines will be the first airline to operate the A330-300 Regional variant, specially designed for regional and domestic operations. Airbus also runs a large logistics centre in Dubai, one of the largest repositories of A380 spares in the world.

Airbus Little Engineer Initiative

Building tomorrow’s leaders, engineers and aerospace personnel is an.airbusgroup.commitment that knows no borders or limitations. In order to sustain the future growth of the region’s aerospace industry, we needed to invest in programmes that inspire the youth of the region, both boys and girls, to focus on science and technology studies.

With that in mind, Airbus Little Engineer initiative has already reached more than 2,000 students in the region. It is dedicated to instilling an appreciation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among the grass roots talent of the region through a set of roboticbased aviation and space hands-on workshops.

Airbus Little Engineer initiative has already reached more than 2,000 students in the region.

A strong partner

The Royal Saudi Air Force has six A330 MRTTs in service.

As Europe’s top defence and space enterprise, Airbus Defence and Space has been a reliable and strong industrial partner to the Middle East since the 1970s.

On the military aircraft side, the UAE Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force operate three and six A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) respectively. Airbus DS has won over 70 orders for light and medium transport aircraft in the region.

Egypt is the biggest single customer for the C295 worldwide, emphasising the aircraft's suitability for the region thanks to its exceptional reliability in hot and dusty conditions.

Airbus DS is also part of the Eurofighter consortium, manufacturing the world's most advanced combat aircraft, of which 72 have been ordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with delivery beginning in June 2009. The Kingdom of Oman ordered 12 Eurofighter Typhoon in 2012, with delivery to start in 2017.

In September 2015, Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, with deliveries to start in 2019. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ordered 72 Eurofighter aircraft. Deliveries began in June 2009.

In space activities, there is an extensive partner network that includes Saudi Arabia’s KACST and SANSA, the South African National Space Agency.

Airbus DS has also built numerous telecom satellites for customers in the Middle East, including operators like Arabsat (Saudi Arabia), Nilesat (Egypt) and Yahsat (UAE). The company also holds a contract with the armed forces of the UAE for the development of Falcon Eye, a high-performance optical Earth observation satellite system. 

Satellite image of Dubai taken by Airbus Defence and Space's Pléiades 1A.

Supporting homeland security

Finally, Airbus DS is a provider of sophisticated security applications in the Middle East. These comprise fully integrated border security systems as well as cyber security services and secure communications applications.

In total, there are eight large Tetra networks deployed by Airbus DS in the region. Among them: nationwide networks for Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Lebanon, in addition to networks for the transport industry and large buildings such as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

Airbus Helicopters’ customer-oriented strategy

Airbus Helicopters has been present in the Middle East for over 40 years, with more than 650 helicopters operated by both civil and military users. Its modern product range incorporates the latest technology to meet evolving applications.

These include anti-piracy, counter-insurgency and border patrol missions, emergency medical airlift, search and rescue, as well as the servicing of offshore oil and gas platforms and executive and VIP transport.

Airbus Helicopters is further increasing its regional footprint with a customer-oriented strategy based on two axes: working with local maintenance partners to promote fleet modernisation; and developing a regional industrial base for maintenance and overhaul, relying on Eurocopter Kingdom Saudi Arabia, its largest regional subsidiary.

An Airbus Helicopters H225 for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Airbus Africa and Middle East

Discover more innovations and partnerships of Airbus in the region.

Interview with Habib Fekih

Interview with Habib Fekih, President Airbus Africa & Middle East

Strategy & Mission

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