Dubai Airshow 2017

Dubai Al-Maktoum DWC, 12-16 November 2017


Dubai is one of the world’s leading trade cities, with a leading role in commerce and services. It also hosts lots of trade shows, so perhaps not surprisingly, one of these is a leading aviation event. The biennial Dubai Airshow goes from strength to strength and 2017 saw a memorable edition.


The first edition of the airshow took place in 1989. From the first edition with 200 exhibitors and just 25 aircraft, the show now features well over 1000 exhibitors with more than 150 aircraft at the show, just to show the growth of the event.


The airshow takes place at a dedicated exhibition at the Al Makhtoum airport. This is Dubai’s second largest airport, though the expansion plans for the airport and the surrounding airport are such that it aims to overtake Dubai International airport in time. If there’s one thing Dubai is never short of, it’s ambition.


One of particularities of the Dubai Airshow is that the event is aimed at professionals and indeed, there is no public access day. The Skyview area which was organized during previous editions did not run in 2017, which meant the general public did not have a chance to see the airshow.



This makes it a very different experience. Indeed, the showground is almost empty during the flying display and getting access to the static is equally easy. Catering is also a worthwhile experience with several famous worldwide brands having dedicated areas all with ample seating in airconditioned areas and service at the table in the exhibition hall, so no squeeze with tickets in a long queue or having the eat in Dubai’s high outside temperatures. The options include TGI Fridays, Olive Garden Italian restaurant, McGettigans Irish Pub, The Market Place and Tim Hortons among others, all offering well above-standard quality event food, befitting the event’s prestige, and all offering something very different from each other, down to the experience inside their areas.


There certainly was plenty to see at the 2017 airshow. On the ground, the Japanese airforce presented the Kawasaki C2 transport aircraft, which they hope to export to the UAE airforce. Other highlights included the Beriev Be200 and SU-35, new armed versions of the Airbus Military C295, the MFI-17 and JF-17 Thunder from Pakistan, alongside extensive displays from the US military, Leonardo, TAI and the UAE air force. Also present for the first time was the Textron Scorpion strike aircraft.
Civilian aircraft were also present in great numbers, with several aircraft from Emirates and Etihad, while Bombardier presented its CS300 in the livery of AirBaltic. Also present were the Hondajet and countless other VIP aircraft on the apron in front of the chalets and exhibition hall.


The flying display was a three hour run of highlights, from civilian aircraft like the Airbus A350 all the way to the latest military aircraft like the F-22 and the awe-inspiring Russian SU-35 demonstrating supermanoeuvrability. The UAE air force presented three excellent displays with the Al Fursan display team, and solo Mirage 2000-9 and F-16E. From Europe came the Rafale and JAS-39 Gripen, while the Pakistani air force presented the MFI-17 Super Mushshak and JF-17 Thunder in the air with impressive solo routines. New aircraft included the Calidus B-250 which will be built in the United Arab Emirates and the An-132, a cooperation between Ukraine and Saudi-Arabia. From Turkey came the T-129 Attak, while Ukrainian company MotorSich demonstrated two upgraded helicopters, the Mi-2 and Mi-8. Apart from these sales-aimed acts, there were also two more display teams that demonstrated their skills, the Russian Knights with four of their new SU-30, and the Chinese display team 1 August with their six J-10 fighters, a unique sight in the skies over Dubai.


With almost 80000 people entering the trade site over 5 days of the show, which ran from Sunday to Thursday, and orders totalling 113 billion US Dollars, there is no denying that the 2017 Dubai Airshow was a major success, in the best ‘Go big or go home’ spirit of this economic powerhouse.