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Dubai Airshow gearing up for biggest event on record

This year’s Dubai Airshow in November is set to be the biggest on record with more than 1,400 exhibitors from 95 countries expected to participate, and visitor numbers predicted to grow from last year’s edition.

With global players from across the aerospace, space and defence spectrum preparing to gather at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai Airshow Site, from November 13-17, 2023, the 18th edition of the airshow presents an opportunity to welcome many new and returning industry stakeholders to the emirate, and reflect on the recovery and growth of the aviation and wider aerospace sectors in recent years, particularly in the Middle East where passenger numbers continue to rise.

The Dubai Airshow will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Middle Eastern airlines posted a 27.3 per cent increase in August traffic compared to the previous year, meanwhile globally, traffic now stands at almost 96 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

Dubai Airports also announced that it served 41.6 million guests in the first half of 2023, a 49% increase against the same period in 2022, fueled by a 43 per cent surge in second-quarter passenger traffic.

As the aerospace, space and defence industries continue to play a critical role for local, regional and international economies, more than 1,400 exhibitors – including 400 first-time exhibitors and 80+ startups across sectors including commercial aviation, advanced aerial mobility, space, defence and military, business aviation, air traffic management, emerging technology and more will unveil innovations and trailblazing solutions at the industry mega event.

An expanded space pavilion, in partnership with the UAE Space Agency, will also be a key feature at this year’s edition. It will see first-time and prominent players including the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) and several others demonstrate how the collaboration of the space and aviation industries are shaping the future of travel.

Dubai Airshow 2023 will also host a comprehensive conference agenda that will welcome more than 300 international speakers and feature more than 80 hours of insightful content to drive conversations on the most important industry topics such as sustainability, space, advanced aerial mobility, air traffic management, passenger experience, diversity, and much more.

As one of the most anticipated aspects of the Dubai Airshow, the famous static and flying displays will return, with an impressive line-up of the world’s most advanced aircraft. The flying display will maintain its status as one of the most impressive ways for manufacturers to demonstrate their aircraft abilities to the global aerospace industry, while providing a breath-taking spectacle for visitors each day, and this year’s static display will set a new benchmark, showcasing more than 180 commercial and military aircraft.

Attendance from regional and international airlines will also reflect the strong growth and transformation being witnessed across the industry. Earlier this year, Emirates released its 2022-23 Annual Report, announcing its most profitable year ever with a profit of AED 10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) compared with AED 3.9 billion ($1.1 billion) loss in the previous year.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways announced a record-breaking core operating profit of $296 million in the first half of 2022, compared to a $392 million loss during the same period the previous year, and the world’s first premium leisure airline, Beond, announced its launch this year, further reflecting the return of the luxury leisure market.

Tero Taskila, CEO & Chairman of Beond, said: “Beond is thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase our beautiful, specially-fitted aircraft at the upcoming Dubai Airshow. Embodied in this aircraft is our vision for a ground-breaking approach to premium leisure travel, and promise of a pioneering flight experience for our guests. This marks the beginning of our journey as the world’s first premium leisure airline, and we could not be more pleased to be able to celebrate with industry partners at the Airshow.”

The same growth is being seen across the region. Qatar Airways Group published its annual report for 2022/23 highlighting an extraordinary year with profits reaching $21.0 billion, up 45% compared to the previous year, and Saudia Group just recently unveiled its new brand identity, part of its comprehensive strategy to support the advancement of the aviation sector, not only in the kingdom but in the MENA region as well, to accommodate the growing demand.

Speaking of its transformation, Ibrahim Al Omar, Director General of Saudia Group, said: “This is an exciting time in the Group’s history. The new brand offers much more than an evolution of our visual identity, but rather a celebration of all that we have achieved. We are committed to expanding the fleet of the group to 318 aircraft and serve 175 destinations.”

The event is supported by key aviation industry stakeholders including Dubai Airports, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), the UAE Ministry of Defence, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) and the UAE Space Agency.

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