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Nov 14, 2021

Dubai Airshow opens

Foreign Affairs News Desk
The Dubai Airshow kicks off Sunday at Dubai World Central (DWC). It runs from November 14-18, 202. Image Credit: Twitter
The Dubai Airshow kicks off Sunday at Dubai World Central (DWC). It runs from November 14-18, 202. Image Credit: Twitter

Aerospace industry CEOs, executives, and officials gathered at the Dubai Airshow, the first in-person aviation event taking off today after COVID-19 pandemic.

The air show that wraps off on November 18 is said to be the largest aerospace trade event to be held globally, with the cancellation of European shows Farnborough and Le Bourget in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

The event will have more than 1,200 exhibitors from 148 countries, displaying over 160 aircraft is expected to pull in 85,000 visitors takes place at Dubai Airshow Site located at the Dubai World Central airport, said the organizer.

Besides, over 250 industry experts will share insights and trends including cargo, sustainability, technology and space, among others.

The air show comes as Dubai’s aviation sector bounces back from the pandemic, which led to the grounding of passenger jets and wiped out air travel demand across the world.

Over the last year, Emirates and flydubai have slowly restored their networks as major markets opened for travel.

Dubai’s aviation recovery is reflected in Emirates’ latest financial results. The airline posted an 81 per cent surge in its revenue to Dh24.7 billion in the April to September period this year.

Emirates carried 6.1 million passengers between April 1 and September 30, 2021, up 319 per cent from the same period last year.

Sustainability will be a top agenda for airlines at the air show amid increasing pressure from investors and activists to cut carbon emissions. The talk will mostly be about adopting more fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).

In a landmark move in October, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The global aviation industry is responsible for around 2 per cent of all emissions – flights produced 915 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019.

Airlines will be in talks with the two major plane-makers – Boeing and Airbus – on potential freight aircraft orders amid a global supply crunch.

One of the biggest highlights of the show will be the static park and flying display, which will feature more than 175 of the world’s most advanced aircraft on ground and in the air.

The Airshow will feature aerobatic displays from various Air Force teams. Also, the Boeing 777X and the Leonardo AW609 will also make debuts at this year’s Airshow.

As the emirate gears up to host this year’s mega aviation event it is worth noting how far Dubai – home to two major carriers, Emirates and flydubai — has come as a regional and global aviation hub.

Around 60 years ago, Dubai’s economy was mostly supported by pearling and fishing, and around just 20,000 people called it home. Dubai had no airport until 1958, and until 1962 the runway was just a compacted salt bed, with no asphalt cover.

At present, Dubai is a bustling metropolis with towering skyscrapers and a population of over 3.5 million. Defying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, its airport recently reclaimed the top spot as the world’s busiest in terms of capacity, while maintaining the top position in passenger numbers throughout most of the crisis.

The air show comes as Dubai’s aviation sector bounces back from the pandemic, which led to the grounding of passenger jets and wiped out air travel demand across the world.

Meanwhile, the hub itself – Dubai International Airport (DXB) – has been seeing an influx of travelers as the emirate enters its peak tourist season and hosts high-profile events such as the Expo 2020 Dubai and ICC T20 World Cup.

DXB plans to reopen its last remaining closed concourse in two weeks, allowing it to return to full capacity for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

After clocking 10.6 million passengers in the first six months of 2021, DXB’s operator had said the airport would see ‘robust’ growth in the second half.

Meanwhile, Israel will be participating in the Dubai Airshow for the first time, a year after the Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE and Israel.

File Photo of Dubai Air show held earlier year.

The first air show in Dubai was held in 1986 under the name Arab Air. In 1989, it was renamed Dubai Airshow, where 200 companies took part, presenting 25 aircraft.

In 2007, the Dubai Airshow rose to prominence among aviation events in terms of attendance, with more than 45,000 participants from 131 countries in attendance. That year 850 companies from 50 countries participated in the exhibition, with the total amount of signed contracts exceeding $100 billion. The exhibition showcased many different types of aircraft, more than 140 in total, from the giant A380 to small drones.

The 2011 edition of the event also broke records. The exhibition space occupied 326,000 square meters. More than 1,000 companies from 50 countries presented their products and services.

In 2019, the event wrapped up with a total of US $54.5 billion in deals and record attendance. Of those sales, Emirates and Air Arabia alone accounted for US $38.8 billion in deals (or 71 per cent). Emirates made aircraft orders worth a total of US $24.8 billion at the event, while Air Arabia made an order for US $14 billion.