The next Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS) is less than 10 months away, and the event—which is managed by Farnborough International Limited on behalf of the Kingdom—is shaping up to deliver on its goal to showcase more than just Bahrain's aerospace business opportunities.
"I am very optimistic about the next air show," his Excellency Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Bahrain’s minister for transportation and telecommunications, told AIN yesterday.
He has good reason to be optimistic. It recently added Embraer and Kuwait Airways to a growing list of prominent global aerospace companies that have committed to participating in the event. On the chalet row, only two of the venue's 40 chalets remain, and the exhibit area is more than 70 percent sold out. The last event, in 2014, drew 40,000 industry professionals and a static display of more than 100 aircraft. The minister expects this year's event to meet, if not exceed, these figures.
This year's show takes place November 14-16 at Sakhir Air Base. Companies that are participating include Airbus, Boeing, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Textron and Thales. Also this year, the organizers are planning several new features, including a presentation theater for product demonstrations and a dedicated U.S. pavilion.
The steady growth of BIAS is helping showcase Bahrain's potential as a global economic center. Last year, Amazon announced Bahrain as the location of its first data centers in the Middle East. Food-services giant Mondelez is building a $90 million factory there.
A strong, welcoming aviation sector is key to attracting global businesses like these, Mohammed said. The air show plays a role, but there is more—led by an expansion of the country's airport. The centerpiece, a new terminal, is "almost 50 percent complete" and is on track to open on time and on budget in the second half of 2019, Mohammed said.