While record-breaking orders for airliners were announced, the just-completed Dubai Air Show, held from November 11 to 15, offered no big news for the defense industry. However, there were important developments across the border in Saudi Arabia, and the UAE Air Force is close to making important decisions about its future pilot training system.
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. immediately cast doubt on the viability of next month’s Dubai Air Show in the United Arab Emirates (November 4 to 8). However, at press time show organizer Fairs & Exhibitions said no consideration had yet been given to postponing or canceling the event.
The need for qualified people is about the only constraint to growth in the booming air transport markets of the Middle East and Asia, and the fact that DAE University was the first of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise’s six business units to get a chief executive reflects that reality.
By all accounts, the 2007 edition of the Dubai Air Show has been a resounding success. A record number of aircraft lined the static display and billions of dollars in aircraft and engine orders were tallied. Yet this 10th airshow will be the last at what is now Dubai International Airport (DXB). When the aerospace industry next comes to the desert, it will be at the new Dubai World Central Airport now being built.
Action Aviation, the exclusive distributor of MD Helicopters in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Scandinavia, is showing the 6,500-pound MD902 in the static display. Though appearing at the Dubai Air Show for the first time, it made its first Middle East appearance at the Dubai Helishow in December last year, said Action Aviation managing director Mike Creed.
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is considering buying Eclipse 500s very light jets (VLJs) for its new flight academy, a deal that might reach fruition during the airshow. The appearance of the diminutive twinjet here marks not only its own Dubai debut, but the first showing of any certified VLJ in the Middle East.
UAE-based Gulf Aerospace Company (Gaco) signed a MoU yesterday with Dubai World Central (DWC) to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in DWC’s Aviation City. Gaco is investing $50 million and leasing 260,000 square feet of land. It will thus form part of what Aviation City CEO Abdulla Al Qurashi has pledged to become the world’s largest MRO center.
Dubai may harbor ambitions of one day hosting an airshow to outshine those held in Paris and Farnborough, but on one score the Gulf emirate is already well ahead. The nearly $80 billion worth of aircraft sales commitments announced through the first two days of the show smashed all-time records and easily surpassed even an impressive tally recorded at June’s Paris Air Show.
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise CEO Bob Johnson kicked off what promises to be a hectic week for the show’s sponsor yesterday morning by inking a global cooperation MoU with his GE Aviation counterpart, Scott Donnelly. There was news, too, of a major investment program planned for India and a strategic agreement with Dubai Airports.
European Airlines have announced plans to link Dubai nonstop to Scandinavia and by business-class-only service to the UK and the U.S. Unlikely though it might seem, no UAE carrier currently provides nonstop service to the Nordic region. Now, a European operator has met that challenge from the other end of the route: Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) this month launched three-times-weekly flights from the Danish capital Copenhagen to Dubai.