Eurasia Airshow 2018 Fuels Turkey’s Desire To Boost Local Industry

 - April 27, 2018, 6:55 AM

The Eurasia Airshow, which opened April 25 and closes April 28, attracted commercial and defense actors from Turkey’s NATO allied countries as well as Ukraine, Russia, and Iran to the 300,000 square meters of exhibition space at Antalya International Airport. More than 100 aircraft are on display, among them the Antonov An-70 and An-178 airlifters, RAF A330 air tanker, Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 (displayed by Qatar Airways for the first time after its delivery), a Boeing 777F, CASA C-295M, Leonardo C-27, and Zivko Edge 540. The air display program includes a Polish air force MiG-29 and a Gripen. The Turkish air force brought the Turkish Stars aerobatic flight team and an array of helicopters including the T-129, combat proven in the recent Afrin operation.

Held under the auspices of the Turkish presidency and intended to be an annual event, the show aims to form lasting alliances between the nation’s fast-growing defense equipment manufacturers and foreign OEMs willing to support their growth. The organizers claim more than 100 countries are represented at the show with 150 civilian and military delegations, and some 400 companies. The organizers expect the show to have a $10 billion business volume with deals in commercial and military aviation, potential aircraft purchases, and orders and tourism potential with an additional $100 million business volume for the local industry.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, İsmail Demir, undersecretary for defense industries, said the exhibition “signals a shift in the misconception that Turkey's aviation sector will remain an insignificant player.” He added, "Turkey is a country that intends to make a significant leap forward in aviation and has made great strides toward its goal," citing the development of Turkish Airlines; the modernization of F-16s; Turkey's contribution to the A400M program and partner country status in the F-35 program; and domestically made training aircraft, jet aircraft, or fighter jets among other examples.

Transportation, maritime, and communication deputy minister Yüksel Coşkunyürek added the show will contribute to the promotion of the Turkish aviation sector on a global scale. "Based on its geographical location, Turkey is on the crossroads between Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Istanbul's Atatürk Airport is now the fourth largest connection hub in Europe as of 2017." He further said that “incentives and liberalization policies” brought the number of passengers from 35 million in 2003 to 200 million in 2017. The number of airliners in the Turkish transport sector has increased to 508 and the number of airports now stands at 55, up from 26. The government has directly invested more than $4.5 billion in the aviation sector since 2003, “while $13.5 billion worth of investments by the private sector is ongoing.”

Of foreign guests, only Russian industry and trade deputy minister Oleg Bocharov was granted an opportunity to speak at the opening ceremony. He said Moscow is keen to extend its cooperation with Ankara in both military and civilian aircraft manufacturing including the MC-21 next-gen jetliner. The Russian exposition includes several chalets and a joint stand, and a VIP business jet based on the Superjet 100 platform in the static line. The Iranians have a stand with UAVs on display including armed versions employed in the ongoing anti-Daesh operations in neighboring Syria.

View a slideshow from the event.