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Dubai Airshow: Early build-up shows a BIAS towards Bahrain

Posted 12 November 2017 · Add Comment

It may only be Day 1 of the Dubai Air Show but organisers of the Bahrain equivalent are here promoting their event for next year – and it promises to be the biggest to date. Marcelle Nethersole reports.

The Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS), in association with Farnborough International, will take place from November 14-16 next year. It is already proving to be the fastest-growing airshow in the Middle East.

The 2018 event will have a larger exhibition hall than 2016 to accommodate the increased exhibitor attendance from around the world. 

Already confirmed are Airbus Group, Bell Helicopters, DRDO, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Otokar, Sky Prime Aviation, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Thales, DITDSO, with new participants for 2018 being Orbital ATK, UTC and Huawei. 

Yousif Mahmoud, head of the Bahrain International Airshow, said: “The show provides the perfect venue to explore business opportunities in Bahrain and the Middle East. Our exceptional civil and military delegation programme means that the event is becoming more and more attractive to companies looking to showcase their aircraft or other technological advances in aviation.”

The show will have a strong presence from Russia with UAC, Rostec and Rosoboronexport all confirmed as exhibiting.

We hope to have a Russian pavilion within the exhibition hall, which will allow smaller Russian SME businesses to participate in the show,” said Mahmoud.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, is also planning to have a strong presence at the show with the potential to host a space conference.”

Bahrain-based Texel Air will also be returning to the show with a much larger presence to cover the chalets and exhibition hall, while the ADS Group will host the UK pavilion and Kallman Worldwide will bring a US pavilion. 

“While the event has grown, it still retains the unique qualities of its first show in offering an exclusive environment for high-level business meetings,” said Mahmoud. “Its civil and military delegations programme is unparalleled and the exhibition feature hall has allowed even more international businesses to participate. Furthermore, its unique location at the Sakhir Airbase means it can display just about any type of aircraft.” 

Still a year away, organisers are unable to confirm aircraft being displayed, but Mahmoud certainly has high hopes.

We hope to see the international debut of Texel Air’s Pemco FlexCombi 737 aircraft, as well as Gulf Air’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which it will take delivery of next year,” he said.

“We are also working with the US Department of Defence, which will be displaying some of its aircraft, including the latest combat jets.”

Mahmoud added that the 2016 show saw the international debut of the HAL Tejas, which may well visit again for 2018.

“We will not be short of military display teams either,” said Mahmoud. “The Russian Knights, Saudi Hawks and Al Fursan are all expected to display at the show. We have also invited the Italian Frecce Tricolori and the Patrouille de France to perform and we are currently awaiting confirmation from them.” 

Bahrain will also be hosting the Manama Air Power Symposium the day before the show. The event sees senior speakers and panels made up of chiefs of air forces from more than 20 countries in the MENA region and other key locations discussing the leading issues of the day.

Mahmoud added that Bahrain was not just looking forward to visitors coming to the events, but also visiting the country as a whole.

“Bahrain is known as a cosmopolitan country and it is seeing increased growth of both business and tourist visitors,” he said.

Growth figures will further be reflected, as the country’s airport modernisation programme is well under way. When complete, the airport capacity will increase to accommodate 14 million passengers a year.

“Construction is well under way and we expect completion in 2019. Once ready, the new terminal will be four times larger than the current one with 130,000 air traffic movements yearly,” said Mahmoud.

“Events like BIAS help contribute to a growth in business tourism in Bahrain. With links to Saudi Arabia by land via the King Fahd Causeway, and regular flights to and from that kingdom’s main cities, Bahrain’s airport modernisation programme will be a key enabler to tourism not only in Bahrain, but in the region.”

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