It seems inconceivable that next November’s Dubai Airshow, the tenth in a series that began modestly in 1989, will be the last at the new site inaugurated just 10 years ago. But in 2009 the aerospace caravan will be pitching camp at the new Dubai World Central (JXB) Airport in Jebel Ali, 40 kilometers and another huge leap of the imagination away.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and chairman of Emirates Airline, has presided over the emirate’s transformation into a global aviation hub and construction of the world’s biggest airport, with its planned six runways and capacity for up to 150 million passengers plus more than 12 million tons of cargo.
“We are very close to completion of the first runway,” he told Aviation International News Tuesday evening. “The master plan is for six runways and we will build them as we need them.”
Sheikh Ahmed said he was “very happy” at the way the airshow is growing. “Twenty years back it was just a regional airshow, but any business starts small and we are very happy about the way it is growing in terms of exhibitors, attendance, and the number of flying display and static aircraft.” The airshow has already spawned two new shows, Middle East Business Aviation and Aircraft Interiors. The latter will be staged for the first time next year.
There is–perhaps never has been–anywhere like Dubai, and that is no accident. “We don’t believe in copying things,” Sheikh Ahmed said. “We are not taking things from anywhere else. There are successful models we can learn from all over the world, such as Korea. And we can learn not only from their success but also what not to repeat. We don’t believe in learning from our own mistakes.”