Dubai Air Show - 2013

Dubai Air Show
AW189 order signing

AgustaWestland (Chalet P22) received an order for 15 of its new AW189 helicopters from Gulf Helicopters of Qatar here at the Dubai Airshow yesterday. The first two aircraft are due to be delivered in 2014 and all aircraft should achieve operational readiness in 2017.

Dubai Airshow

All signs now point to the fact that the Dubai Airshow is number one on the list of must-attend and must-exhibit venues on the worldwide airshow circuit. Two key indicators this year are the Dubai’s show’s stellar new site at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport and the massive orders garnered by the top two airframers–Airbus and Boeing–during this year’s show. This is likely more than just good timing, but an indication of the growing importance of the biennial Dubai event.


The UAE is in no immediate hurry to acquire a new fighter, although it is anxious to fully contribute to the security of the Gulf countries, according to Major General (ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain, former commander of the UAE Air Force. Khaled told AIN here yesterday that, “it takes years to negotiate a new fighter contract.” His comments will dampen expectations of a near-term order or MoU for the Eurofighter Typhoon that have been raised by the British diplomatic and industrial offensive here this week.

CFM engine order

Engine manufacturers reaped the rewards of the airline order bonanza at this year’s Dubai Airshow, led by GE Aviation (Pavilion A9), which logged $26 billion in engine orders and service agreements from Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.

Collectively, the three Gulf carriers placed orders for 450 new GE9X engines now under development for the new Boeing 777X widebody. GE also received orders for Boeing 787 GEnx engines and 777 GE90 engines.

P.1HH HammerHead Demo

Piaggio Aero and Selex ES announced at the Dubai Airshow that the first flight of the P.1HH HammerHead Demo unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology demonstrator took place on November 14 at Trapani air force base in Italy.

With the increasing use of unmanned combat aircraft over the past decade, airplanes without windows have been an increasing presence at air shows around the world. This year’s Dubai Airshow is no exception, and with a few exceptions, most of the offerings come from a local manufacturer. The first example is one of the exceptions. Based on its successful Avanti twin turboprop passenger airplane, Piaggio has developed the Hammerhead UAV.

The Middle East region is one of the best markets for business aviation. Though fortunes within the industry have lagged across the board following the financial collapse of 2008, better times are visible just over the horizon.

The Grand Opening of the Dubai Airshow is a royal occasion, overseen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Following the ribbon cutting, His Highness toured the new, improved and expanded show site at Al Maktoum International Airport. Photo: David McIntosh

The Gulf region has long been an attractive market for the defense contractors from all over the world, and the Dubai Airshow is one of the most important venues for displaying wares. Combat aircraft and systems have always represented a large part of the activities here.  Photo: David McIntosh

The preparations that presage a major international air show are compelling to watch. It starts with barren ramp space and naked concrete floors. In the preceding weeks, days and hours, the vibrancy of a living event build slowly. It takes time; and literally years of person-hours to bring it all together.

In the days leading up to every air show, the aircraft and pilots that perform in the aerial displays must display their routines for the authorities. These validation flights are flown exactly as the final performance. It’s the air show before the Airshow, and it’s dynamic to watch. Have a look.

More Stories from Dubai 2013

November 21, 2013, 11:25 AM

Last week Airbus delivered the first A320 family aircraft with the runway overrun prevention system (ROPS), an A319, to American Airlines. American is to equip all of its A320 family fleet with Airbus’s ROPS. The delivery coincided with FAA certification for A320 family ROPS technology. In August, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified ROPS on the A320ceo (current engine option) family.

November 21, 2013, 11:20 AM

Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast, is responsible for overseeing Airbus’s Global Market Forecast, which is published annually. At a pre-Dubai Airshow briefing, Emerson offered the following comments about Airbus aircraft:

A350: The aircraft is improving and is efficient today. We have logged almost 600 hours. The program is on track. There are no issues there. The 350-1000 is moving and this is what we had expected.

November 21, 2013, 11:15 AM

Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast said that the number of aviation mega-cities will more than double in the next 20 years. This will require as much configurability in aircraft as possible, particularly between major city pairs, and he said that Airbus’s widebody family–the A380, the A350XWB and the A330–are the ideal match for long-haul trunk routes, long-haul developing routes and regional routes, respectively. “For us, our family completely matches the market,” Emerson said. “There is no gap.”

November 19, 2013, 3:30 PM

Ethiopian Airlines reinforced its commitment to Bombardier and its Q400 turboprop here yesterday with a contract to become an authorized service facility for the big prop jet and a commitment to take another four of the airplanes on lease from Palma Holding. Palma has signed a letter of intent with Bombardier covering a firm order for the four airplanes and options on another four. With the deal, Palma stands to become the first Middle East lessor for Q400s and the first lessor worldwide for the aircraft in a dual-class configuration. \

November 19, 2013, 6:48 AM

Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control division (MFC) is a major supplier of defense equipment to the Middle East and that business is about to arise to a new level thanks to an anticipated sale of its Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) to Qatar.

November 19, 2013, 6:34 AM


The recently appointed head of Saudi Arabia-based luxury charter firm Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) said Middle East charter demand growth stood at 8 percent this year, exceeding the worldwide industry figure, but behind Russia, India and the Asia Pacific region.

Faisal G. Kayal, managing director of SPA, said the region is witnessing “strong economic growth.” Kayal replaced Wajdi Al Idrissi, the former head of the company, in May.

November 19, 2013, 6:28 AM

Aerospace and defense contractor AAR (Stand 2118) has announced new contracts with U.S. government agencies. Here at the Dubai Airshow, the company is emphasizing its increasing global reach.

November 19, 2013, 6:22 AM

Bombardier plans to issue an update on the flight test schedule for its new CSeries jet “in a few weeks” as program managers assess whether or not to maintain the company’s admittedly ambitious entry-into-service target date of one year after first flight, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft marketing vice president Philippe Poutissou told AIN on Sunday during a briefing in Dubai. Meanwhile, the company will now quote only total flight and ground test hours rather than specifying an exact figure for time in the air.

November 19, 2013, 5:48 AM

Dassault Aviation (Stand 1445), which is here exhibiting its Falcon 7X and Falcon 900LX business jets, expects the Middle East to be a major market for its new Falcon 5X, which was revealed at last month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas. The Saint-Cloud, France-based manufacturer has just begun offering a cockpit upgrade retrofit for the Falcon 900C/EX and an improvement for the Falcon 7X’s electronic flight bag (EFB).

November 19, 2013, 5:48 AM

One of Lufthansa Technik’s fastest-growing activities in the Middle East is the Lufthansa Technik Middle East Services (LTMES) facility here in Dubai. LTMES brings together all the capabilities offered by the parent group and makes them available from one regionally focused location.

November 19, 2013, 5:48 AM

Crane Aerospace & Electronics announced the approval of its SmartStem wireless tire pressure checking system on the Boeing 737NG. Crane said that its patented technology offers a way to check tire pressure quickly, accurately and without gas loss. The system consists of sensors and a handheld reader. The sensors replace the existing standard wheel fill stems and the reader electronically reads and stores tire pressure and temperature.

November 19, 2013, 5:46 AM

Bell Helicopter (Chalet A48) is aiming for the first flights of the Bell 525 Relentless and Bell SLS late next year, and the two engineering teams working on the new helicopters are engaged in a friendly race, CEO John Garrison said here on Monday.

November 19, 2013, 5:42 AM

Beechcraft today announced the appointment of South Africa-based Absolute Aviation as an authorized parts distributor for sub-Saharan Africa. Absolute Aviation, Beechcraft’s exclusive distributor for the region since 2011, will house a stock of inventory worth $1 million at Lanseria Airport near Johannesburg, to support Beechcraft products as well as the Hawker 125 series.

November 19, 2013, 5:32 AM

 On Saturday the Indian Navy formally took delivery of the INS Vikramaditya. The aircraft carrier is the former Soviet Admiral Gorshkov, which has been refurbished and retrofitted by the Sevmash shipyard at Severodvinsk in the north of European Russia (see story page 22). India’s defense minister, Arackaparambil Kurian Antony, attended the ceremony.

November 19, 2013, 5:22 AM

Airbus awards more work packages to Mubadala’s Strata