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Gifas launches the Abu Dhabi French connection

Posted 4 June 2018 · Add Comment

The French aerospace association, Gifas, has launched a Middle East branch (MEFAN), which is now entering its operational phase. Vincent Chappard reports.

Setting up MEFAN in Abu Dhabi follows the success of Gifas’ first two international branches in North America and South East Asia.
MEFAN brings together French companies that are established in the Middle East and are members of the French aeronautics and space industries group.
Gifas has more than 391 members, from major prime contractors and system suppliers to small specialist companies. They cover the full spectrum of skills, from the design, development and production of aerospace systems to marketing, maintenance and operation.
Gifas members are active in all sectors of the aerospace industry, including civil and military aircraft, helicopters, engines, missiles and weapons, satellites and launch systems, UAV, large aerospace, defence and security systems, equipment, subassemblies and associated software applications.
Dassault Aviation CEO, Eric Trappier, has been Gifas chairman since June 2017.
Mikail Houari, Airbus president for Africa and the Middle East, who oversees MEFAN, said: “Our new move is a direct result of the authorities’ strategic desire to prepare for the post-oil era. We are pleased to support the strong dynamism of the region in the aerospace sector.”
Two major UAE programmes – the Dubai tourism vision 2020, which aims to reach 20 million visitors a year by the 2020 World Expo, and the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan – drive this decision toward diversification and sustainability.
GIFAS wants to support the local industrial development policy, helping its member companies who wish to grow in the Middle East.
MEFAN has three missions: to connect up French aeronautics companies interested in the region; to inform interested parties by making documentation available on the zone; and to assist members in their development.
Today, MEFAN has nearly 30 members based in the UAE, with major global players including Airbus, Thales, Dassault, Safran, and MBDA, and many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) whose know-how constitutes a strong added value for their local partners.
“Our network remains relatively young and building a partnership takes time,” said Houari. “We are working to bring our industries closer together.”
To achieve this, MEFAN relies on the various specialised events and shows in the region, including the likes of IDEX, the Dubai Air Show, the Bahrain International Defense Conference, and the Kuwait Aviation Show, where it organises networking activities.
GIFAS had a strong presence during the last Dubai Air Show at the French pavilion, which Houari described as “an important milestone”.
“By bringing industry closer to the local aerospace market, Gifas wants to contribute to the construction and development of a competitive and state-of-the-art regional aviation industry,” underlined Houari.
Gifas is determined to provide a global and coordinated answer to the UAE’s ambition of transforming its aerospace industry into the cornerstone of its economic and scientific development.
 

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