Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Dubai Airshow: what to expect

Barrel rolls and mega deals: everything you need to know about one of the world's biggest aviation events

Jet fighters, helicopters and some of the world’s most advanced passenger planes take to the UAE skies next week. Dubai Airshow is back and close to 90,000 people are expected to attend the five-day event. Daring displays by the aerobatic teams UAE’s Al Fursan and Patrouille de France – the Gallic version of the Red Arrows – will also delight the crowd.

What is the Dubai Airshow?

The biennial event at the purpose-built venue close to the Al Maktoum Airport runs from Sunday until Thursday. Mammoth deals have been clinched at the event over the years and competition between great rivals Airbus and Boeing gets fierce. In 2017, Airbus sold a staggering $52 billion (Dh190bn) worth of aircraft, while Boeing was not far behind with sales of about $47bn. Most were preliminary orders – not firm – but still noteworthy. In 2013, Boeing secured commitments worth a jaw-dropping $95bn. It is not clear if such deals will be made this year, but time will tell.

What about Boeing’s trouble with the 737 Max?

Part of Boeing’s huge deal in 2017 was flydubai’s order for as many as 225 of the 737 Max planes. But the jet remains grounded across the globe Since March after two deadly crashes involving the model. Boeing is confident the Max will be re-certified to fly soon but the fortunes of the company have suffered. Aviation enthusiasts will be hoping to hear an update about the plane during the show.

Is the show open to public?

Dubai Airshow is a trade event and is not open to the general public. But if you are in the vicinity of the Al Maktoum airport, then you might be able to catch some of the aerial displays.

When do the aerobatics take place?

Aircraft will take to the skies over Dubai from 2pm to 5pm every day. Not all planes at the show will fly but confirmed displays so far include an Airbus A330neo, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, French Rafale fighter and RAF Eurofighter Typhoon.

An Emirates A380 with a portrait of the late President, Sheikh Zayed, at the Dubai Airshow in 2017. Karim Sahib / AFP 
An Emirates A380 with a portrait of the late President, Sheikh Zayed, at the Dubai Airshow in 2017. Karim Sahib / AFP 

What other aircraft will appear?

Known as the "static display" – meaning not flying – the aprons will be cluttered with some of the famous and newest aircraft in the world. The US will display its stealth F22 Raptor and F35 Lightning jets. The Raptor is one of the most advanced planes around while the F35 will be making its first appearance at an air show in the Middle East. Could the US sell the F35 to countries in the region? It remains to be seen. Other classic military aircraft on display will include the A10 Thunderbolt, Apache attack helicopter and MV-22B Osprey.

The return of a Soviet classic

The appearance of an Ilyushin-76TD at the show will mark the rejuvenation of a classic. The 76 first flew in 1971 and became the backbone of the Soviet cargo fleet. It was extremely reliable in bad weather and could land comfortably on unpaved, remote airfields. Many operators still use the aircraft. The newer version is worth a look and is still a glimpse at classic Soviet aviation design. If you will not be attending the show, then travel along the coast road to Umm Al Quwain, where you can see an old 76 rusting by the Barracuda Beach Resort.

Is there anything else to know?

Conferences and panel discussions will be held daily to talk about the space industry, latest aviation trends, women in space, future of air cargo and efforts to streamline air traffic control. The UAE’s newly formed Edge defence giant will also have a big presence at the air show.

Dubai Airshow takes place from November 17 to 21. For more information visit the Dubai Airshow website.

Here's look back at the show from 2017

Updated: November 17, 2019 09:51 AM

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