• Leo Varadkar’s trade mission to the UAE features a full two-day programme, focused on strengthening economic ties with UAE, a key business and trade market for Ireland.
  • Exports by Irish companies to the UAE increased by 12 per cent, even in backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Leo Varadkar to meet with senior aviation leaders at the Dubai Airshow, including CEOs of Emirates, FlyDubai, Kuwait Airlines and more.
  • Trade mission will include tour of the Irish Aviation House at Dubai Airshow, where Leo Varadkar will meet with 12 Irish aviation and aerospace companies that are successfully doing business across the region.
  • Programme also features a symposium led by IATA, which will welcome high-level delegates from airlines operating in the region. 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates : Continuing the largest single trade mission undertaken this year, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD will start the second leg of his two-country visit, arriving in the United Arab Emirates, home to Expo 2020 Dubai and the Dubai Airshow.

Accompanying the Irish Deputy Prime Minister is Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government agency for trade and innovation which has organised the trade mission. With the strong focus of the visit to boost trade collaboration between both countries, the visit will support Irish companies to access export and partnership opportunities, establish strategic connections with local partners in the market, and reinforce existing relations. Irish companies have been enjoying mutually beneficial opportunities of working with this major market, with a population of over 9.89 million people, 88.5% of which are expats.

With year on year growth in business exports to the UAE, Ireland is looking to substantially grow this market further as Irish companies who are globalised and backed by Enterprise Ireland are looking to win new business opportunities in the region as part of their ambitious growth strategies. This trade mission to the region is part of Enterprise Ireland’s agenda to accelerate the international reach of their client companies who have a leading reputation for delivering recognised, world class expertise and innovative solutions.

The UAE has an open economy and was recently recognised by the World Bank as the 16th best country for ease of doing business. With exports by Irish companies to the UAE continuing to grow – valued at €156m and up 12 per cent in 2020 on the previous year – Enterprise Ireland serves to bolster sales and partnership deals for its client companies and raise the profile of Ireland as an attractive trading partner, offering competitive, high quality and technologically advanced products and services.

With a packed two-day programme, Leo Varadkar’s visit will bring together Irish businesses with local partners to discuss the latest developments and innovation in the sectors of aviation and edtech, where Irish companies are recognised as being among the top providers of leading expertise and innovative solutions around the world. In addition to creating a forum for companies to develop their relationships with customers and partners, Leo Varadkar will also highlight a series of announcements by Irish companies active in the country.

Leading the trade mission to the UAE, Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said, “The United Arab Emirates is an important trading partner for Ireland which year after year has seen exports by Irish companies growing substantially. Last year, as the world was disrupted by the pandemic, Irish exports to the UAE grew by 12 per cent which is a clear sign of the value placed on Irish goods and services. We are committed to growing this even further and I am really looking forward to this trade mission, which will be our largest for indigenous enterprise, since the pandemic began. It is great to be here at the same time as Expo 2020 Dubai is underway. It will be an excellent opportunity to connect in person again after such a long time. Dubai is a modern and consumer focused economy with a wealth of opportunities for both Irish and Emirati interests to work together resulting in mutually beneficial outcomes.” 

Dubai Airshow: Renowned Irish Aviation Pioneers Supporting the Regional and Global Aviation Industry

Leo Varadkar and Leo Clancy will visit the Irish Aviation House, at the Dubai Airshow, which will be the venue for the week-long air show for 12 of Ireland’s leading aviation and aerospace companies. These Irish companies are some of the leading from the sector, showcasing the breadth and depth of the Irish aviation and aerospace ecosystem, which is steeped in history, heritage and a pioneering spirit for shaping the future of innovation, with innovative ideas, people, companies and technologies.

Ireland is home to a world-leading ecosystem of 250 aviation and aerospace companies, with leading-edge expertise that spans all aspects of the sector. From maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) to precision engineering, from satellite technology to simulation training, from revenue optimisation to high-tech fabrics for aircraft interiors, Irish expertise is the wind beneath the wings of the global aviation sector.

At the Airshow, Leo Varadkar and Leo Clancy will also make keynote speeches at an Irish Aviation Breakfast event that will bring together Irish aviation companies and senior aviation and aerospace executives from the region. Focused on the recovery of the industry, Leo Varadkar will focus on the role that the Irish aviation sector can take in supporting the industry to accelerate its recovery as it emerges from the pandemic. Irish innovators are leading from the front with solutions to some of the industry’s greatest challenges. They are helping airlines to restore revenues, boost profitability, and increase customer confidence by ensuring a return to a safe travel environment.

Leo Varadkar will also address a senior audience from the global aviation industry at the International Air Transport Association Symposium held in partnership with Enterprise Ireland at the Irish Aviation House. This event will be attended by several of the leading airlines from the region and Africa, including President of Emirates Sir Tim Clark, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, Egyptair Chairman & CEO Capt. Amr Abuelenein, Kuwait Airways CEO Maen Razouqi, and Dubai Duty Free CEO Colm McLoughlin. Kamil Al Awadhi, Regional Vice President Middle East & Africa at IATA, will address the importance of ‘Leading Through a Crisis’. Leo Varadkar will invite airline CEOs to visit Ireland in 2022 for an inward trade visit organised by Enterprise Ireland.

Commenting on the role and strength of the Irish aviation and aerospace sector, Leo Varadkar said: “Aviation is one of the sectors worst affected by Covid-19. Ireland is a global leader in aviation, home to 250 world-leading aviation and aerospace companies. It has been an incredibly tough couple of years for everyone working in the sector and I am really happy to be here today at the Irish Aviation House to look forward to a much more positive future for the industry as it gets back on its feet. Irish companies work hard to develop relationships and build strong bonds with their customers, which I hope, will be evident in the resilience and reputation of their business in the Middle East.”

Coinciding with the Irish Deputy Prime Minister’s visit to the Irish Aviation House, Leo Varadkar noted the recent developments of some of the companies winning business in the region. Botany Weaving are a long-standing partner of Emirates, Kuwait Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Dublin Aerospace have provided MRO services to several UAE carriers. Eirtech Aviation and Aerospace Software Developments have both won business with FlyDubai in the last year. IO Systems, with a team of nine people on the ground, continue to provide Dubai International Airport which their baggage return tray systems. Leo Varadkar welcomed several Irish aviation and aerospace announcements made at the Dubai Airshow, including:

  • Aviation training organisation ASG, leading drone training and certification body Avtrain, and aerospace investment manager VectorCap announced the launch of a new joint venture – VertX Aero – a world first for eVTOL and UAS Certified Category Pilot and Operator Training and a Centre of Excellence based in Dublin, Ireland. The new joint venture will develop the standards for the UAS Certified category and in particular the pilot licencing and Operator Approvals for eVTOL aircraft and all aircraft operating in the UAS Certified Category. It will provide online and in person training and certification for pilots and operators in the UAS Certified category for both theoretical knowledge and practical competences towards the grant of an initial EASA licence, and provide continuous appraisal, checking and retraining for pilots and operators in the UAS Certified category for both theoretical knowledge and practical competences towards the renewal of EASA licence and Air Operator Certification. The venture will also provide consultancy to eVTOL manufacturers for the flight testing of prototype aircraft and their introduction to commercial flight operations. 
  • Dublin headquartered InnaLabs® used the Dubai Airshow to announce that they have been awarded two significant contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) to support two of their upcoming major space missions by supplying their ARIETIS high performance rad-hard gyro for each.
    • The first space mission is the PLATO Science mission. The purpose of this mission is to find and study a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars.
    • The second mission is the European Space Agency Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring mission, with Airbus Defence & Space as the prime contractor. The purpose of this mission is to serve the agricultural user community for improving sustainable crop productivity in a world of increasing water scarcity and variability.

“This double contract win with major European Space primes is a testament to the cutting-edge technology developed in Ireland, delivering unique solutions to the booming space industry,” said Jean-Luc Laydevant, Chief Commercial Officer at Innalabs. ARIETIS is a rad hardened 3 Axis Gyroscope. Based on Innalabs proprietary Coriolis Vibratory Gyroscope (CVG) technology, it delivers superior Angular Random Walk under the harsh environment of deep space while also having an attractive price point. Thanks to the support of Enterprise Ireland and ESA, Innalabs is able to develop and deliver ARIETIS for such critical missions from its factory in Blanchardstown, West Dublin. 

  • Macquarie AirFinance, a global aviation lessor headquartered in Dublin, announced that they have agreed to lease five new Airbus A220-300 aircraft to Air Senegal, the national airline of the Republic of Senegal, with deliveries commencing in 2023. Powered by Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines, the aircraft deliver up to 25 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation models. Air Senegal will use the A220-300s to link Dakar to regional and European destinations. The airline’s investment is part of a 20-year plan to expand travel and tourism in Senegal. Commenting on the announcement, John Willingham, Chief Executive Officer at Macquarie AirFinance, said: “We are delighted to conclude this agreement with Air Senegal and see this as the start of a successful long-term partnership together. The airline’s plans for the aircraft demonstrate its exceptional passenger appeal, efficiency and versatility. We look forward to flying on the A220-300 when it enters service in Senegal and experiencing the airline’s famous Teranga hospitality.”

Accompanying the Irish Deputy Prime Minister at the Dubai Airshow, Enterprise Ireland’s Chief Executive Leo Clancy said, “As the world continues to come through the turbulence of the pandemic, and the global aviation industry begins its recovery, Irish innovators are leading from the front with solutions to some of the industry’s greatest challenges. Irish aviation and aerospace stakeholders have shown incredible resilience to battle the shifting dynamics in the industry and position themselves to best support global operators. Ireland’s aviation and aerospace companies have a strong track record of providing first class service to airlines and aerospace manufacturers across the Middle East and Africa, with innovation and trust at the heart of everything they do, supplying cutting-edge solutions, products and services to our aviation partners.”

Other key highlights of the trade mission to the UAE included a visit by Leo Varadkar and Leo Clancy to the GEMS American Academy to meet with founder Sunny Varkey and the founders of Irish company, GoCreate Peter Stone and Susan Hickey. The visit coincides with the announcement that the Dublin-based firm has signed a contract with GEMS to provide music and media courses with the associated qualifications for their new online learning platform, TeachMeNow. Through this partnership, it enables the TeachMeNow platform to have access to the GoCreate Academy network of incredible talent around the world, who can teach and transform up and coming creatives or life-long learners. Go Create also announced the launch of GoCreate Examinations, specialising in creating new examinations and assessing contemporary subjects such as vlogging, podcasting, storytelling, live streaming, mobile film-making and beatboxing. Mobile-centric, using a cutting-edge AI-driven assessment platform, GoCreate Examinations aim to be the Uber of examinations proving candidates unprecedented ability to gain qualifications whenever they are ready, wherever in the world they are.



This trade visit and associated events have been organised in line with Irish and local market Covid-19 regulations and travel requirements.

For the Dubai Airshow 2021, Enterprise Ireland secured a chalet on the runway branded as the ‘Irish Aviation House’, where they are hosting 12 client companies participating along with partners such as the Irish Aviation Authority, Future Mobility Campus Ireland, and Tourism Ireland:

  • Aero Inspection: Based in Shannon, Singapore and now Dubai, Aero Inspection is a global supplier of aviation technical services to leasing companies and airlines. Specialising in redelivery management, placards and plates, and cabin reconfiguration, Aero Inspection is a one-stop solution provider that can ensure a smooth delivery or redelivery of aircraft.
  • Airtel ATN: An independent supplier of data link communication solutions for the aerospace industry, Airtel ATN has consistently been an international leader in the development of ATN communications software for over 20 years.
  • ATA25: A world leader in the sale, supply and repair of aftermarket aircraft seating and interiors, ATA25 carries a large inventory of ship sets of aircraft seats in its workshop and warehousing facilities in close proximity to Dublin Airport, to support aircraft owners, operators and leasing companies.
  • Atlantic Aviation Group: Founded in 1962 and based at Shannon Airport, Atlantic Aviation Group’s reputation is built on superior craftsmanship, technical expertise and a flexible, dedicated customer service. The independent aviation solutions company provides comprehensive maintenance, modification and support services to operators around the world.
  • Avtrain: Avtrain certifies drone pilots and operators for all fixed-wing, hybrid, single and multi-rotor drones up to 75kgs. With new EASA drone regulations that became effective in 2020, Avtrain is now providing online and blended training and certification.
  • Botany Weaving: Botany Weaving, based in Dublin, since 1934, is one of the largest suppliers of aircraft seat fabrics, carpets and curtain fabrics to the airline industry. Approved by Boeing and Airbus, the company supplies for over 120 airlines worldwide and virtually all of the airlines in the Gulf region.
  • Dublin Aerospace: Dublin Aerospace is one of the world’s leading providers of Aerospace MRO services with capabilities in APU Repair & Overhaul, Base Maintenance, IDG Repair & Overhaul and Landing Gear Repair & Overhaul. The company operates operate a 4 bay Base Maintenance facility that can presently handle 70 aircraft per annum, an APU overhaul centre that can handle 400 APUs a year and a new state of the art Landing Gear services centre that has capacity for 350 legs annually.
  • Eirtech Aviation Services: Eirtech Aviation Services is a world-leading specialist aviation services company working with international airlines, private operators, and aviation leasing companies globally. Eirtech continues to invest in a strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy as we edge forward post-Covid.
  • Emerald Aero: Emerald Aero is a cluster of Irish companies which collectively delivers precision engineering, plastics moulding, tooling, 3D printing, fabrication, surface treatment, thermoforming, and Multi-Axis CNC. Offering a full range of services in an integrated supply chain, EAG can act as the one-click supply chain for the global aerospace sector.
  • InnaLabs: InnaLabs is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance inertial sensors including tactical grade coriolis vibratory gyroscopes and navigation grade quartz servo accelerometers. The technology company provides high quality, robust solutions for aerospace, subsea, marine, land, space, civil engineering, transportation and industrial applications.
  • Shannon IASC: Shannon IASC (International Aviation Services Centre) is the home of aviation and aerospace in Ireland. Home to the largest aerospace and aviation cluster in Ireland, with over 50 firms and growing steadily, the Shannon aviation cluster spans the industry value chain, encompassing everything from aircraft leasing, maintenance and recycling to component manufacture, parts repair and business aviation.
  • VRAI: VRAI create data driven Virtual Reality simulation training. Their customers include IAG in Heathrow Airport, the United Nations in Somalia and they are currently working with the RAF to use VR and data to codify airmanship in pilot training. VRAI have created HEAT to combine authentic virtual training environments with cutting edge data capture and analytics capability, allowing organisations whose activities are risky, remote or rare to train in a more authentic, memorable and measurable way.

About Enterprise Ireland

  • Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency.
  • We invest in the most innovative Irish companies through all stages of their growth and connect them to international customers across multiple industries.
  • Our goal is to build successful, long-term business relationships between international companies and Irish partners.
  • With 40 offices worldwide (including in the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), Enterprise Ireland’s teams of industry experts consult with international businesses to understand and solve their business needs.

For reference, please contact:
Robin Gordon-Farleigh, Founding Partner at Manara Global
E: Robin@manaraglobal.com
Marika MacCarvill, Communications Manager – Ireland & International, Enterprise Ireland
Tel: 00 353 86 171 2568. E: marika.maccarvill@enterprise-ireland.com 

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© Press Release 2021

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