The aviation world has come to expect a lot from the Dubai Airshow. That’s easy to understand when it involves aircraft purchases like the ones announced yesterday. Between Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline and FlyDubai, more than $150 billion (Dh551bn) of orders were placed with Boeing and Airbus.
Just to put that in perspective, that figure is more than the market capitalisation of either airplane manufacturer.
As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted yesterday: “Our national airlines are leading a new phase in the global airline industry. We aim to be the economic centre that links the world together.”
The orders are undoubtedly a vote of confidence in the airline industry in the UAE and they also augur well for those who live in the region and fly frequently. Greater capacity means a wider range of destinations.
The higher concentration of airline resources in the country will also provide a big boost to support industries, multiplying economic benefits and creating employment opportunities.
The orders reflect the geographical advantage enjoyed by the UAE, being sited between the major economies of Asia on one side and Europe and North America on the other.
As Ali Al Naqbi, the founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association, explained: “If you are coming from East to West, the technical stop you make is in the UAE.”
This is backed by reality: Dubai International Airport is the second busiest in the world by global passenger traffic. Abu Dhabi International Airport is ramping up capacity and was voted this year best airport in the Middle East by an industry group.
Finally, these announcements help bolster the Dubai Airshow as a venue able to challenge the established events in Farnborough in southern England and Paris. With more than 60,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors, the Dubai Airshow has definitely taken off.