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DUBAI AIR SHOW EXCELS Middle Eastern aviation expo is a win-win winner

BEGINNING TO challenge the might of the traditional Paris and Farnborough air shows, the Dubai event is attracting increasing numbers of civilian and military exhibitors from more countries every time it opens its gates.

dubai airshow

The record breaking Legacy 500 (for report see page 30).

And the recent event was no exception. Another aspect starting to become more dominant is the fact that whereas previously the Dubai show was more aimed at business aviation, now airliner manufacturers are starting to gain more of the spotlight. Although still a far cry from the huge sales announcements which are the “in thing” at both Paris and Farnborough, airliner sales are starting to make their appearance at Dubai, an example at the November show being that of Boeing which used the event to announce, an order for 75 737MAX-8 aircraft.

The aircraft have been ordered by India’s premier airline, Jet Airways, and marks the largest equipment acquisition in its history. It also supports the airline’s replacement strategy to have the most modern and environmentally progressive airplane fleet. The order, previously attributed to an unidentified customer, includes conversions of 25 Next-Generation 737s to 737MAX-8s, as well as options and purchase rights for an additional 50 aircraft.

Boeing also took the opportunity to announce the confirmation of the sale of two Boeing 777 cargo aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines which were also part of a previous order, but only confirmed recently. Not to be left out, Airbus was also able to use the show to announce an order, in this case it was from Vietnamese carrier, Vietjet, which has placed a firm order for the purchase of 30 more A321s (nine A321ceo and 21 A321neo). The order was signed at the Dubai Air Show by Vietjet president and CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, and John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers.

Vietjet was launched at the end of 2011 and now operates a fleet of 29 A320 Family aircraft including three A321s, on a network covering Vietnam and a growing number of destinations across Asia. Including the show announcement, the airline has placed firm orders with Airbus for a total of 99 A320 Family aircraft.

MILITARY ASPECT

Although still predominately civilianbased, the military influence is also gaining momentum, an example being the exhibition by South African defence manufacturing giant, Denel, which used the show to not only promote its manufacturing expertise, but also reintroduce its Rooivalk attack helicopter.

This helicopter failed to attract any international orders when first unveiled in the early 1990s, but it is doing so now that it has proved itself in combat in the African civil war and terrorism theatres.

dubai airshow

South African defence equipment manufacturer, Denel, heavily promoted its Rooivalk attack helicopter at the show. Although it did not gain any international orders when it first appeared in the early 1990s, it has more than proved its worth in its peacekeeping opertations in the strife‐stricken areas of Africa in recent years, resulting in an upsurge of interest from potentional foreign buyers.

Denel also showcased its expanding capabilities in both the defence and civilian aerospace industries at the Dubai Air Show, which is reported to have attracted more than 65 000 visitors from around the world. “Our capabilities in the defence sphere are well known because of the successful deployment of the Rooivalk combat helicopter in peace-keeping operations in Africa,” said Zwelakhe Ntshepe, the company’s Group Executive: Business Development.

He said in a preshow statement: “Denel is a trusted name in this environment and the second largest defence company in the southern hemisphere. However, we also want to grow our participation in the civilian and commercial aerospace markets and Dubai is an important platform to achieve this.”................................. For the FULL ARTICLE please subscribe to our digital edition.

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