Brig. VK Atray & Sangeeta Saxena. Dubai & New Delhi. A barometer of the aviation industry, Dubai Airshow opened to a lesser than before announcements . But even then since it was was held in 1989, the event has become the story of modern aviation, and the event is at the centre-stage of regional firepower in military aviation. On the civil aviation side, although the Gulf states do not have large populations, they have set up regional hubs, facilitating travel between east and west and hence are major markets and just the right places to trade.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, officially open the Dubai Airshow 2015 at Al Maktoum International Airport.
While traditional markets are seeing a decline in growth in aviation business the Middle East is booming. With 1,1003 exhibitors from over 60 countries, over 160 aircraft on display, and new areas such as the 3D Printshow, Dubai Airshow started on a a slow pace than the last one in 2013.
Sheikh Mohammed took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony, before taking a tour of the site with Michelle van Akelijan, Managing Director of Dubai Airshow organisers F&E Aerospace. Beginning his tour with a visit to the liveried search and rescue helicopter fleet of the UAE Joint Aviation Command, he then greeted the pilots of the UAE Air Force aerobatics team, Al Fursan. The team, which flies seven Aermacchi MB-339A jet trainer aircraft, will be taking part in daily demonstrations at the show.
Commenting on the official opening, Michelle van Akelijan said: “It is an honour to welcome Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to officially open this year’s event. With exhibitors coming from 61 countries, we are expecting to see some exciting and innovative additions to the show this year.”
But not everything is under dark clouds at the show. The US Pavilion has doubled in size from 659 square metres to more than 1300 square metres and has a large number of returning US exhibitors including Boeing, Engine Alliance, GE and Honeywell, plus some new ones including Telephonics, and Aerion returning after a break of six years. Of the 90-plus U.S. companies participating in the U.S. International Pavilion, more than 30 are affiliated with six state pavilions representing Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Virginia, New Hampshire and Washington. Ranging from publicly-traded stalwarts to privately-held innovators, Pavilion exhibitors represent a cross-section of leading American suppliers looking for new export opportunities and to strengthen regional business relationships.
Boeing, Airbus, ATR , Agusta Westland, Bombardier, BAE, Bell Helicopters, Dassault, Diamond, Embraer, Gulf stream, Piaggio, Pilatus, Sukhoi and other manufacturers displayed their aircraft both in static and flying arenas.
American aerospace major Boeing showcases a range of its products and services at Dubai Airshow, including flydubai’s Next-Generation 737-800, Qatar Airways’ 25th 787 Dreamliner, the Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, the US Navy’s P-8 Poseidon and the US Marine Corps MV-22, to name a few.
European Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is displaying A400M , C295, A330 and AstroBus, a High Performance Satellite for Civilian and Security Applications along with A380, A350, Airbus and H160 helicopter which makes Dubai Show Debut. And the list is not conclusive.
Bombardier touched down at the Airshow with aline-up of commercial and business aircraft on static display which included the all-new CS100 airliner, Q400 turboprop, CRJ900 aircraft; and three business aircraft – the Learjet 75, Challenger 350 and the Global 6000.
Embraer is showcasing a cabin mock-up of the forthcoming E2 version popular E-Jet regional jet at the show. Its A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop is making its Dubai Airshow debut, replete with a new paint scheme.
The Antonov An-178 military transport aircraft is making its Middle East debut at Dubai. Antonov hopes that the An-178 will play a significant part in the company’s plan to get back to producing at least 200 aircraft per year, alongside the commercial An-148 and stretched An-158.
In addition to showcasing its defence and special missions products, Textron Aviation debuted its Cessna Citation Latitude midsize business jet which features the most spacious cabin of the Cessna aircraft at 77 inches wide and six feet tall, and carries up to nine passengers.
French aircraft manufacturer ATR was on a high post the recent Air NewZealand purchase of 15 additional ATR 72-600s and Papua New Guinea’s purchase of their first ATR 72-600 aircraft. On display is the ATR 72-212A in Dubai.
The main exhibit at BAE’s display is a Hawk T2 from the UK Royal Air Force’s 4 Squadron. There is a Hawk T2 cockpit demonstrator at the show revealing a future configuration with a single, large-area display (LAD) for the pilot . The UK major is highlighting Hawk and Training as the main focus for BAE Systems and with their partner Eurofighter demonstrates that Typhoon should be the aircraft of choice, particularly in the Middle East.
Finmeccanica is present with the twin-engine MC-27J, developed by Alenia Aermacchi. A scale model of the M-346, the advanced trainer aircraft on the market today, ix on exhibit at the Finmeccanica chalet. For the first time in the region, AgustaWestland presents its two remotely piloted helicopters SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH (Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial System/Optionally Piloted Helicopter) and SD-150 HERO.
Russian Helicopters, part of State Corporation Rostec, demonstrates the latest medium multirole Mi-171A2 alongside the light multirole Ansat in VIP configuration and the firefighting version of the Ka-32A11BC at Dubai.
China showcased its first stealth fighter jet on the opening day of the Dubai Air Show and is hoping to get its first foreign customer at Dubai.
The Dubai Airshow will, for the first time, includes exhibitions on UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) as well as the new UAE Space Agency. The UAE Space Agency was established in 2014. The UAE has invested more than US$5.4bn in space technology, and includes companies such as Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company and Thuraya Telecommunications Company. Mohamed Ahli, director general of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, said the authority began issuing licences for UAV use around two months ago to a freezone as well as Dubai Municipality. He said the UAVs are used for civilian purposes, such as blood, medical and food transport.
Missile makers MBDA, Raytheon, Rafael and others are present with their exhibits and so are engine makers like GE , Rolls Royce, Engine Alliance, Safran and others.
Defence ministers and top military officers from many countries are attending the show. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, toured a number of pavilions and acquainted himself with the latest developments in the aviation industry.
The flying display started with “Al Fursan” (The Knights) which is the United Arab Emirates Air Force aerobatic display team. The team flies seven Aermacchi MB-339A jet trainer aircraft including one solo. The team has a total of ten aircraft. The “Al Fursan” aircraft are painted in black, gold, white, red and green colors and are equipped with smoke generators producing red, green, white and black smoke (i.e. the colours of the UAE flag). They are a pride of the show and attract attention of locals and visitors alike. MIRAGE 2000, A350, F16, PC 21, B1, SAFAT 03, F-22, SAFAT 02, RAFALE and SUPER MUSHAK, all were a part of the flying display on day 1 at Dubai.
According to Boeing’s Current Market Outlook (CMO) 2014 – 2033, the Middle East will need 55,000 new pilots and 62,000 new skilled maintenance personnel to staff the region’s. Returning for the third time, GATE – Gulf Aviation Training Event – will focus on pilot training and human factors vs automation, as well as flight tracking systems.