x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi Air Expo doubles in size

Abu Dhabi Air Expo: The forthcoming Abu Dhabi Air Expo will feature double the size of exhibition space compared to last year.

Pilots eat lunch on the tarmac during last year's Abu Dhabi Air Expo at Al Bateen Executive Airport. This year's event starts on Tuesday. Christopher Pike / The National
Pilots eat lunch on the tarmac during last year's Abu Dhabi Air Expo at Al Bateen Executive Airport. This year's event starts on Tuesday. Christopher Pike / The National

The forthcoming Abu Dhabi Air Expo will feature twice the exhibition space of last year's show.

The three-day event, which starts on Tuesday, is expected to draw more than 12,000 visitors, plus major industry players from as far afield as Asia and South Africa.

The expo is the only general aviation exhibition in the Middle East, and has been mainly directed at aircraft owners, pilots, enthusiasts and professionals in the general aviation field. It also is the only exhibition in the world to showcase aircraft weighing less than 100kg and up to 150 tonnes in the same place.

Several of the major players in the industry will be taking part, including Bombardier and Boeing.

"Abu Dhabi Air Expo 2013 will be doubling its exhibition area and the number of exhibitors compared with last year," said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac).

A total of 150 companies from more than 70 countries will take part, including Canada, the United States, Germany and France. Fifty-six UAE companies will also be exhibiting at the show in addition to 14 from the wider GCC region.

As part of the show's programme there will also be conferences. And a special day will be dedicated to young people on Thursday.

"Nearly 800 high school students from the UAE will come to the exhibition to meet representatives from flight schools and to discuss the aeronautics industry and all aspects of the aviation industry," said Mr Al Mansoori.

Flight schools will also have a presence at the event, with Etihad Airways Academy, CAE Emirates College Academy and Chopperline Australia, among others, taking part.

The total exhibition space will be more than 74,000 square metres and more than 90 aircraft will be on show.

Some aircraft will be displayed in the region for the first time, including the Gulfstream G650. Bombardier's latest version of its Global 6000 will also be on show, as will a range of Embraer Executive Jets.

"The Abu Dhabi Air Expo brings together the major players in general aviation, enabling them to experience the industry's latest developments and innovations in a remarkable and convenient location," said Mr Al Mansoori.

The event will be held at Al Bateen Executive Airport, which operated as Abu Dhabi's main international airport from 1970 until 1982 and was a military airbase until 2008. It now serves as a business jet airport and is the first of its kind in the region.

Adac has invested more than Dh183.6 million (US$49.9m) in turning the 50-year-old military airfield into a luxury business aviation gateway with a VIP passenger terminal.

It has also introduced the DhabiJet FBO brand, and most recently opened the Executive Gourmet aircraft catering service last month.

Further developments at the airport include securing additional airport land to create new airside, landside, and facility space.

There was an 11 per cent increase in aircraft movements at Al Bateen last year, and a 40 per cent rise in visiting private aircraft, according to the airport.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae