Dubai Firm Eyes U.S. Aviation Companies

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Dubai Aerospace Enterprise has proposed a $1.5 billion deal to buy Landmark Aviation, an FBO network with 35 locations, and Standard Aero, a provider of overhauls and maintenance for turbine engines. The proposed deal has raised some eyebrows in Washington, where the deal is expected to be subjected to scrutiny. A proposal from Dubai interests last year to manage some U.S. ports was derailed amid security concerns. DAE is a fairly new company, established in February 2006, with plans to expand into all sectors of aerospace over the next 10 years -- from training to manufacturing to aircraft leasing and maintenance -- investing $15 billion and employing 30,000 workers. It's owned by the state and chaired by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Emirates airline group. Robert Johnson, formerly the CEO of Honeywell Aerospace, was named CEO last summer. If the deal goes through, Johnson told Bloomberg News on Tuesday, "We have no intention of moving them [Landmark and Standard Aero] from where they are. But as the market becomes more global we think there's an opportunity to extend them into regions of growth,'' such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The deal would be subject to congressional review, but Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who led the opposition to the Dubai Ports deal, told the Financial Times: "This purchase is not as much of a security risk as Dubai Ports World, but because it deals with maintenance of aircraft, it certainly raises security questions." According to Bloomberg, Schumer also said that following proper security reviews, "the deal is unlikely to have problems in Congress."