|Dubai is certainly very popular with influencers, but even common folk such as myself can find a reason to visit this Middle-Eastern metropole. From classic to the ultramodern architecture, food from every corner of the globe and plenty of entertainment options, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Even an airshow, of course for trade purposes!
Every two years, the airport at Al Maktoum, home to 1001 DNATA power generators, is the scene for one of the largest trade shows in the world, the renowned Dubai Airshow. The show had enormous success being the first large tradeshow following the covid-pandemic in 2021 which saw amazing participation, so advertising the 2023 edition as the biggest ever was certainly a brave move.
Information and announcements were scarce and it was only about 3 weeks before the event that the first static participation list was placed online, and that was very incomplete. Military participants were kept off the list mostly, with the war in Palestine raising tensions in the wider region. With a week to go, some details emerged about the flying display participants, and even then, a major display team was not mentioned, probably as a result of the war in Ukraine. Russian participation is a little tricky for a large international event at the moment, so it is understandable the organisation treated this with some discretion.
In the end, 190 aircraft turned up for the static, and the flying display programme was full of gems from Europe, the Middle-East, Russia, USA and the Far East, featuring several display teams, and a lot of military hardware.
The Dubai Airshow is a trade show, welcoming family visitors and tourists to a special dedicated grandstand called Skyview, to the rear of the showground. This option seemed more popular than ever before. Getting to and from the show is a breeze thanks to the excellent shuttle service between the Dubai metro and the DWC Al Maktoum site. Emirates even offered special deals if you travelled to Dubai for the airshow, and Dubai immigration service had a special passport stamp, which I sadly didnít get.
As usual, the flying display was limited to the afternoon, running from 14:00 until 17:00 uninterruptedly, but in the morning, there was plenty to see in the static and learn during keynotes and panel sessions about a wide variety of aviation subjects, dealing with start-up businesses and air mobility. Aircraft in the static could be easily seen as there were hardly any fences and the same could be said for the crowdline, which had only a few fences on the red line.
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Ample attention went to space exploration and new forms of air transport such as aerial taxis in the exhibition hall. For the latter, there was even an additional exhibition area to showcase the latest developments around the world. Worth noting is that Dubai may see aerial taxis entering into service as early as 2026.
With over 100 billion announced in deals, the Dubai airshow was definitely a commercial success, and with the inspiring lectures and discussions, it was very interesting for aviation professionals everywhere. The Dubai airshow certainly lived up to its ambitions and did the Emirate proud!
|Report by Chris Janssens
Lay-out and content by Chris Janssens, 2005 - present