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Dubai Airshow: Dubai unleashes the big names and even bigger ideas

Posted 17 November 2019 · Add Comment

The Middle East aerospace industry is booming, as the Dubai Airshow is set to prove. Michele van Akelijen, managing director of organiser, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, explains what visitors can expect at this year’s event.


All show organisers utter the words “this year will be bigger and better” but, for Michele van Akelijen, managing director of Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, you know she believes it’s true about this year’s event.

F&E, as it was then known, has been the show’s organiser since the start in 1986, when the event was a small civil aviation trade show known as Arab Air.

Today, it’s no longer just about aircraft on the static; it is now a huge business platform with co-located events as well.

The last event, in 2017, recorded an order book in excess of $113.8 billion.

“Exhibitors and visitors tell us, year-after-year, that they get an amazing amount of business done in a week at the show due to myriad networking opportunities,” said van Akelijen.

“This year, the show is expecting 1,300 exhibitors, representing all aspects of the industry, including engineering, engine manufacturing, business aviation, defence, and aircraft maintenance.”

The biggest names in the global aerospace industry will again be at the event, including Rolls-Royce, which plans to use its presence to highlight progress on its IntelligentEngine vision

Boeing is also looking forward to the show with Bernard Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey saying: “The Dubai Airshow is a fantastic platform for us and others in the industry to connect with our customers and showcase the latest technologies, platforms and services.” 

He added: “Every country in this region has strong visions dedicated to diversifying their economies, developing their workforce, protecting their citizens, improving infrastructure and more. Aerospace will continue to play an important role in the region’s growth story.” 

Other big names attending include Emirates, Airbus, and Gulfstream, plus military representation from Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and, of course, the UAE Armed Forces, said van Akelijen.

There will also be new exhibitors, including the likes of S&K Technologies from the US, and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence from Italy

Visitors will be able to see up to 165 aircraft on the static park and a large number in the flying display. Aircraft confirmed include Emirates Airline showcasing its ultra-long range Boeing 777-300, A380-800 and Airbus Corporate Jet 319, alongside Emirates Training College’s Embraer 500 Phenom 100EV and Cirrus SR 22.

Gulfstream will be showing its G500, G600 and G650 aircraft, while Diamond Aircraft will be showing a DA400 and DA 62. Dassault will have both its Falcon 8X and Falcon 900LX.

“Historically, we have seen some game-changers and we are sure that will continue this year,” said van Akelijen. 

This year’s event will also have a huge focus on the space sector, with an exhibition area and two dedicated conferences produced in collaboration with the UAE Space Agency – Women in Space (tomorrow), and Tech Talks (Tuesday).

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, the show also welcomes back Colonel Al Worden, command module pilot of Apollo 15.

The Middle East aviation industry is growing at a rapid rate, creating airspace management challenges for air navigation service providers. The Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) conference takes place within show on Tuesday and Wednesday and presents a comprehensive and interactive discussion on air traffic control in the UAE, the GCC and globally.

Industry members will come together to learn more about how technology can be applied to face the increasing challenge of crowded skies.

Another co-located event, taking place tomorrow, is Cargo Connect. Key challenges and opportunities to be discussed during the conference include cargo transformation strategies, digital cargo evolution, cargo tech, and automation, drones and AI.

“Businesses in the Middle East region have always placed a premium on face-to-face networking, which is another reason the Dubai Airshow is a success – it provides concentrated access to the key decision-makers in a focused environment,” concluded van Akelijen.

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