UK prime minister David Cameron made a surprise visit to the Dubai Airshow site on the eve of the 17-21 November event, as part of a tour of the Middle East states.
During a brief speech delivered at the UK Trade & Investment stand, Cameron described the aerospace sector as “an absolutely vital industry for Britain”, adding that it also has “real government backing”.
“I think it’s very important that we are not half-hearted in standing up for this industry, whether it is the civil aerospace industry or the defence aerospace industry. I think that means recognising in this world today not only that we are trying to sell responsibly British equipment, but also entering into more and more deep partnerships with countries. I hope that we will here in the United Arab Emirates.”
Cameron stopped short of specifically mentioning the UK’s current promotion of the Eurofighter Typhoon to the United Arab Emirates, with Number 10 officially citing the main purposes of his visit as being to show support to British business and for Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo event in 2020.
Noting the competitive nature of the aerospace industry, he said: “This race is hot, and this race is pretty fast. But if we play to our strengths we can be a real winner.”
During his whistle-stop tour of the show, Cameron also met members of the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows aerobatic display team, visited BAE Systems’ stand and appeared on the tarmac in front of an Emirates Airline A380 with EADS chief executive Tom Enders.
Around 150 UK companies are present at this year’s show.
Check out the latest coverage from this year's Dubai Airshow.
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