The Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) was moved from its usual January slot to November to ensure a better fit with the Dubai Airshow and allow its exhibitors more time to prepare.
“We received requests from companies participating that it would be better to have an alternating event [every 12 months], with one airshow taking place a year after the other, exactly like Farnborough and Paris,” Eng. Kamal Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Communications, Kingdom of Bahrain, told AIN.
“This would enable many of them to better plan their marketing activities, and meet the requirements of customers participating in our airshow. We want to capitalize on our event's being one of the biggest two airshows in our region. Dubai’s show has been taking place for 40 years, while our event is still emerging. We are very happy with the rate of retention we have.”
The Bahrain Airshow was first held in January 2010 and last took place in January 2016. Holding the event in November 2018 cements its place in the Middle East calendar as complementing the Dubai event, also in November, much as the interplay between the Farnborough and Paris Airshows allows participants adequate time to prepare for both between July and June of the following year.
The Bahrain Airshow, which takes place at Sakhir Airbase, saw orders of $9 billion in 2016, and will play host to OEMs Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream, Bombardier, Embraer, and Lockheed Martin, all of which have participated in the event since its inauguration, Mohammed said. In addition, he said he expects 110 aircraft to be on static display, among them the F-22, B-1B, and F-35. National carrier Gulf Air will also have the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on display.
The show takes place November 14 to 16. A symposium has been organized for November 13, to be held at Manama’s Sofitel Hotel, to allow both military and civil delegations from China, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, and elsewhere to tackle important issues, such as the enhancement of regional airspace for civil airlines, and defense priorities in an increasingly fractious region.
“The Manama Air Power Symposium will see senior speakers and panels from chiefs of air forces from over 20 countries in the MENA region and other key locations,” the minister said. The second edition of Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference also takes place in October 2019.
He confirmed that a contract is in place for Farnborough Airshow to organize the BIAS until 2022. “They will continue with us next airshow and the one after. Farnborough has been very important to our success, and a partner from day one.”
Due to exhibitor demand, he said that the amount of exhibition hall space allocated to stands had doubled this year and added that he expects approximately 30,000 visitors at the event. Since the inaugural event, “every edition has been bigger than the last. We are very excited about what we achieved in the past and about what we can achieve in the future,” he said.