x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Aviation review 2013: Dubai Airshow puts Paris and Farnborough into the shade

Dubai Airshow's huge success topped a good year for the UAE's aviation industry.

A model of Boeing's 777X aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, sits on display at the company's stand during the 13th Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai. Duncan Chard/Bloomberg
A model of Boeing's 777X aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, sits on display at the company's stand during the 13th Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai. Duncan Chard/Bloomberg

The Dubai Airshow last month was undoubtedly one of the major highlights of the year in aviation.

Airlines placed US$200 billion in orders for planes — smashing the previous record of $63bn set in 2011 — and the fast and furious pace of deals announced during the three-day event held for the first time at Dubai World Central cemented the show’s reputation as the place to do business, outranking the air shows in Paris and Farnborough in England. Boeing used the show to unveil its new 777X aircraft.

Arabian Gulf carriers were among the airlines buying: Etihad Airways placed orders worth $67bn, Emirates Airline for $99bn and flydubai for $11.4bn.

Etihad, celebrating 10 years in existence, also announced the introduction of Etihad Regional after buying a stake in Switzerland’s Darwin Airline. The carrier will fly the Etihad brand to 21 destinations in Europe and will allow passengers to connect to Etihad’s main routes. The deal brings to seven Etihad’s equity alliances.

Since it was founded in 2003, the airline’s workforce has grown to more than 17,000 people from 100 at the outset and the carrier expects to reach 20,000 by next December.

The Etihad Cargo division also had a record year and in November it transported 49,700 tonnes of cargo around the world, its best month to date.

Al Ain is also set to join Toulouse and Seattle as a leading centre for airline parts production and maintenance after Mubadala announced that its advanced composite aerostructures plant, Strata Manufacturing, had secured deals worth as much as $5bn to provide parts to Airbus and Boeing . It also unveiled deals with Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation to service and maintain engines made by the two companies.

lgutcher@thenational.ae