All systems go for Bahrain Air Show

 - June 17, 2009, 10:14 AM

The inaugural Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS), which will take place Jan. 20 to 23, 2010, was officially launched in Paris yesterday after a host of major aerospace companies agreed to participate in the exclusive chalet-only event.
The three-day show is being organized by the Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) for the Kingdom of Bahrain and Farnborough International Ltd. (FIL). It will take place at the Sakhir Airbase, which is owned by the King of Bahrain, HE Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and is situated adjacent to the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit in the center of the main island. It has a 12,000-foot runway and large ramp areas.

“The airbase is very large and each chalet will be 200 square meters [2,150 square feet] with meeting room and dining room,” Captain Abdulrahman Moh’d Al Gaoud, chairman of the organizing committee and undersecretary for civil aviation affairs, told AIN. “We will have 40 fully fitted chalets plus ten ready-made chalets where [companies] can fit their own furniture.” He confirmed that there would also be a corporate aviation area where visitors could park their aircraft.

“This is a completely unique concept and is exactly what the industry has been asking for–a five-star trade event all under one roof for civil, commercial and defense,” said FIL exhibitions and events director Amanda Stainer. “There are no exhibition halls, only chalets... [and] there is lots of room outside the chalets for aircraft, so companies can do customer demonstration flights.” She confirmed that these would be allowed between 10 a.m. and noon each day, with a “spectacular air display” in the afternoon.

Bahrain took a pioneering role in the development of aviation in the Middle East, seeing the first recorded flight just after World War I, the first service to India by Imperial Airways in 1932 and later being the first destination for scheduled Concorde services. These days it has a central role in managing airspace from Cairo to Karachi, said Al Gaoud.