This year’s Dubai Airshow marks the start of a new era in the event’s growth as one of the key dates in the aviation calendar. Having been under development for several years, the move to a new site here at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport has been accomplished seamlessly. The move not only provides the show with a purpose-built facility with expanded road access, but also frees the former location at the busy Dubai International Airport from the burden of having to shut down airline operations during the daily flying display.
It may be a new site and a new building, but a closer look reveals many reminders of the former show location. Underlining Dubai’s emphasis on the importance of recycling, some of the infrastructure and fittings have been re-used here. Most obvious is the show’s own air traffic control tower, but also elements of the entrance hall have been recycled. The exhibitor chalets and Royal Pavilion were also carefully reconstructed at the new location. Even some of the trees outside have been uprooted from the old exhibition center to find a new home at the site.
As well as becoming the permanent home of the Dubai Airshow, the new exhibition center will also host the biennial Middle East Business Aviation show, beginning in December 2014. And if Dubai is successful in its bid to host the Expo 2020 world fair then the center will form an integral part of the infrastructure. Dubai is competing with Izmir (Turkey), São Paulo (Brazil) and Yekaterinburg (Russia) for the honor and is anticipating a decision on the 27th of this month.
As befits its new home, the Dubai Airshow itself continues to grow, with 1,043 exhibitors displaying this year. Around 60,000 visitors are expected to the trade show during the week, and about 150 aircraft are on the static display. These figures are all higher than those for the 2011 show.
Adding to the trade show attendance will be members of the public enjoying the launch of the Skyview airshow viewing experience. This initiative has been taken to provide a safe, family-oriented environment for the public to enjoy the flying display, supported by entertainment and educational displays.
Another addition to the show is the Gulf Aviation Training Event (GATE), a two-day summit due to be opened on Tuesday by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai’s department of civil aviation and the chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline. GATE will bring together providers and operators in the training and simulator world to discuss the key issues facing training in civil aviation and will feature a wide range of industry speakers.
Dubai Airshow 2013 also recognizes the importance of what is termed the “third arm” of aviation with a pavilion dedicated to humanitarian relief operations (the current DVC development plan features a “Humanitarian District”). This subject is particularly relevant at the moment in the light of ongoing relief efforts in the wake of the Philippines typhoon disaster. The Pavilion highlights the work of Care by Air and the UN World Food Program, as well as bringing together a number of operators, supporters and charitable organizations with the aim of publicizing this aspect of aviation and of encouraging further companies and agencies to join humanitarian efforts.
Finally, this year’s airshow is running an expanded Futures Day on the last day of the show (November 21). Drawing on the success of the inaugural Futures Day held in 2011, the event this year will see up to 1,000 students from UAE institutions visiting the show. The day’s program includes targeted involvement from many exhibitors to provide inspiration and practical assistance to tomorrow’s generation of engineers.