Ruler of Dubai, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan opened Sunday the 16th “Dubai Airshow 2019” at Dubai World Central (DWC).
Experts expect multi-billion dollar deals will be signed during the show, led by Boeing and Airbus, as the event witnesses wide Russian participation as well as Arab companies such as defense and security airlines of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that airlines in the region are waiting to announce new aircraft deals with international airlines, in addition to security and defense deals, while a number of new military products will be showcased for the first time.
Earlier, the Prime Minister toured the Dubai Airshow purpose-built venue at the DWC and listened to a briefing on the preparations for the event including the facilities for exhibitors.
Over 160 official delegations and 1,300 governmental and private companies from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa are participating in the 5-days event that has become one of the top three airshows in the world.
Staff Major-General Pilot Abdullah al-Hashemi, Executive Director of the Military Organizing Committee of the Dubai Airshow 2019, said that the total deals of the Dubai Airshow over 18 years amounted to about $639.3 billion.
Hashemi said that 100 new companies will participate this year from Asia, Africa, and Europe, pointing out that the exhibition has achieved steady growth throughout its history, reflecting innovations and opportunities in the aviation industry in the Middle East and around the world.
He added that modern technologies and innovations that shape the future of the aviation industry will be the main points of discussion during the activities of this year’s edition.
Meanwhile, Boeing moved on Saturday to ease tensions with regulators over the return to service of its 737 MAX, saying its top priority now is returning the jet safely to commercial service, continuing to make progress on changes to the aircraft and lining up targets for type-certification in December.
“We put some targets out that still line up to December ... type certification,” the chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stan Deal, told reporters.
US Federal Aviation Administration has said they are not going to put a time frame on it and Boeing is going to track behind them on this.
Boeing expects global demand for aircraft to reach 44,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years, with a total value of $16 trillion, including commercial services needed for those airplanes.
The Middle East is the fourth largest market in the world in terms of service sector growth, after the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The US company expects demand for commercial and government services to reach $225 billion over the next decade, with less than 20 percent of the world's military fleet being replaced over the next 10 years. This means the demand for current aircraft maintenance services and enhancing its capabilities will grow at a faster pace.
In related news, UK’s Spacebit announced that its “Spider Moon Rover” is set to be tested in the UAE ahead of its launch in spring next year.
The Rover is currently in its final development stage and, along with tests in the UK, will be tested on suitable grounds similar to the moon’s surface in Abu Dhabi.