More than 160 aircraft are on display, the world’s best demonstration pilots and aerobatic teams are presenting thrilling aerial performances, over 1,200 exhibitors from around the globe are showing are their wares and a record-setting crowd of more than 70,000 is expected: the Dubai Airshow 2017 will surely be the grandest of the biennial spectacles since the first was staged in 1989.
Several of the aircraft on static display are making highly anticipated world debuts, and many more are appearing in the region for the first time. In the skies overhead, the UAE’s Al Fursan demonstration team is among the headliners in the daily air show, while exhibitors from the UAE’s own AAL Group to Zodiac Aerospace from the U.S. are showcasing the latest in defense systems, avionics, commercial aircraft support services and VIP business jet furnishings. In fact, the Dubai Airshow is now the world’s third-largest such gathering, behind only Paris and Farnborough, according to show organizers Tarsus F&E, and holds the record for the largest orders placed at a single air show ($206 billion in 2013). This year all such records are fair game.
But hardware and spectacle aside, the gathering is about relationships, education and creating opportunities for those in the industry today and youngsters eager to be a part of it tomorrow. The extensive conference program includes the Gulf Aviation Training Event, the Cargo Zone Conference, the Airport Solutions Dubai and the Unmanned Aircraft Solutions Summit. Meanwhile, the event has become a must-attend platform not only for industry players in the Middle East, but around the world, as the list of exhibitors illustrates: Airbus, Boeing, leading airlines and technology companies, and many new vendors that will launch from this event to take their own rightful place on aviation’s stage. Here are some of the highlights to look for this year:
The static display showcases the latest in commercial, military, utility and business aircraft. Airliner aficionados can see Emirates’s newly delivered Boeing 777-300ER and a company Airbus A380-800, the world’s largest passenger airliner. Canada’s Bombardier is showcasing its new CSeries 300 regional airliner, flydubai has a next-generation Boeing 737 Max 8 open for inspection and Sukhoi is here with its new Superjet 100 regional airliner. UAE-based UAS Trip Support is displaying the “Dream Jet,” the world’s first VIP-configured 787, now based in Dubai and available for charter, while Boeing is debuting the latest version of that platform, the 787-10.
Among the military aircraft, Japan’s Kawasaki C-2 long-range twinjet military transport, which entered service last year, is being shown for the first time in the region, and the Chengdu Cloud Shadow, a medium-altitude, long-endurance, jet-powered UAV from China’s AVIC, is making its inaugural appearance outside of China. Italy’s Leonardo is showing a cabin mockup of its AW609 tiltrotor in search-and-rescue configuration, a platform slated for operation by the UAE’s Search & Rescue forces.
Some 50 business aircraft are also on display, from the Cirrus SR22 single-engine piston to large-cabin jets including the Bombardier Global 6000, Falcon 8X and Gulfstream G650ER.
Daily Air Show
The stars of this year’s daily aerobatic displays include the PLAAF August 1st demonstration team from China performing in J-10As, the Russian Knights in Sukhoi Su-30Ms and the UAE’s own Al Fursan team in their Aermacchi MB-339NATs.
A U.S. Air Force F-16, UAE Mirage 2000 and French Air Force Dassault Rafale will also showcase their capabilities, while Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35, which has both canards and thrust-vectoring engines, will demonstrate its maneuverability. Additionally, the Emerati-Brazilian Calidus B-250 Bader, a light attack turboprop advanced trainer designed by Brazil’s Novaer for UAE-based Calidus, is making its world debut in the show.
Rotorcraft and UAVs are also featured in the aerial display, including one each from Turkey: Turkish Aerospace Industry’s T129 attack helicopter, in its Dubai Air Show debut, and the TAI Anka MALE Class UAV, respectively.
But the air show isn’t restricted to military aircraft. Many of the airliners and utility aircraft on static display will also be showcased in the air, including an Airbus A350, and a Beriev Be-200ES amphibious twinjet that will demonstrate its fire-fighting ability with dramatic water drops.
Inside the exhibition hall, the 1,200-plus vendors include more than 40 attending the airshow for the first time. Organizers project attendance will jump by 9 percent over the record set in 2015, totaling some 72,000 attendees by show’s end.